LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Individuals schools within a district are now able to utilize 10 remote learning days through the end of the academic year.
These days are in addition to the 10 non-traditional learning days (NTI) already allotted to schools per academic year.
The new bill, signed by Governor Andy Beshear, is an effort to keep students in school as the omicron variant surges in communities across the state.
What are remote learning days?
Remote learning days aren't the same as NTI days.
They are more targeted and can be used by an individual school, grade, classroom or group of students dealing with a COVID outbreak.
Unlike NTI days, they can't be used by an entire district.
“Remote days are a little challenging for a district our size, but we will obviously bring that into play as well once they become legal,” Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Marty Pollio said.
The bill doesn't add or take away NTI days, but with 155 schools in the district, JCPS spokesman Mark Hebert said it's difficult to make a daily determination of which individual classrooms or schools should close and which should remain fully open.
“While we appreciate the flexibility the legislature has given school districts by adding remote learning days," Hebert said. "We hope they will also consider adding more NTI days for all school districts as the 2022 legislative session progresses."
Smaller districts though, like Bullitt County Public Schools (BCPS), said these remote learning days will help their district keep more kids in the classroom.
"Being able to target different schools or different areas especially in a district our size is going to be extremely important because it gives us an opportunity to keep as many students as we can in person,” BCPS Superintendent Jesse Bacon said.
Bacon said the remote days give schools the flexibility to close specific classrooms or grade levels, or even whole buildings if there is an outbreak in COVID-19 cases.
The measure is retroactive, so if a district used remote learning days since the first of the year, they are covered under this new law.