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'There is a great fear': Kentucky lawmakers push for more remote learning days

Several superintendents were concerned back in September when the legislature passed a bill requiring districts to share the days.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky lawmakers are pushing for more remote learning days for school districts.

Several superintendents were concerned back in September when the legislature passed a bill requiring districts to share the days.

The bill allowed school districts to have 20 remote learning days. It ran out on the first of the year.

Now, lawmakers are looking at a new bill to take its place and go even further by allowing individual schools within a district 10 days of remote learning each.

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio this week said the bill helps, but doesn't do enough for large districts like his.

"We most likely have not seen the worst of Omicron when it comes to our community and our schools,” Pollio said.

With 155 schools in Louisville, Pollio said he's nervous about what's to come.

"There is a great fear for me that we will use our 10 NTI days and come to a point where we cannot hold school effectively and not have the tools we need to make sure that we continue, safely, in-person school,” Pollio said.

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Kentucky Senator Max Wise of Campbellsville is the author of both bills.

"We're looking at flexibility to provide to school districts, especially superintendents, as we try to navigate COVID-19,” Wise said.

Pollio said it might not be enough because under the bill, just like the previous one, entire districts cannot use the remote days all at once.

“This is something that affects every single school on a daily basis and it's very difficult to pinpoint school-by-school when we have the numbers that we have,” Pollio said.

Hardin County Superintendent Terrie Morgan said the new bill will be enough for her district of 21 schools.

"We have adapted the mask mandate for different schools, so I think the same flexibility with the COVID days could be extremely important, especially when we don't know what's on the horizon,” Morgan said.

Morgan said she thinks districts can make it work, so that more kids can stay in the classroom.

“You would hate to close an entire district when really it is pinpointed in a certain location,” Morgan said. “It just makes more sense to have that flexibility."

Wise said the bill does not affect district's Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) days.

He said the bill would also work retroactively if a school uses remote days in the new year, before the bill passes.

Wise said it’s expected on the Senate floor next week.

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