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A look inside: JCPS classrooms ready for students, if the board votes to go back

School and district administrators have been formulating a plan to make returning to school as safe as possible.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio proposed a plan for reopening, in which kids would start going back to school the third week in March.  

But ultimately the reopening decision and what school days look like will be up to the JCPS Board of Education.

While they wait, the JCPS district and school administrators have been working together to make a safe return plan, if the board decides to vote to come back to school.  

At the high school level, those changes include a hybrid schedule, one-way hallways, fewer desks in a classroom, and social distancing in the cafeteria.

Middle and high school students would be split into an A group and a B group – with one group attending school Monday and Tuesday, and the other Thursday and Friday. Wednesday would be a deep cleaning day at the school. When they aren’t in school, students will learn virtually.

Each high school is different, making plans that will fit its specific size and student population.

Overall, 60% of students in the district have chosen an in-person option, if it becomes available. However, each school differs. At Central High School, only 51% of students have said they will come back in person.

“On any given day, we'll have about 300 students in the building and this building can hold 1,200,” Central Principal Raymond Green said. “I feel very confident in our ability to social distance.”

At Gutermuth Elementary, 60% of students have indicated they will come back. There are some differences between elementary, and middle and high school return plans.

Elementary students would be in class five days a week. They will stay in one room for all classes aside from lunch and gym, while high schoolers will move between classrooms.

Elementary students will also get two wellness breaks throughout the day, where they can go outside and move around. They will also have scheduled bathroom breaks.

RELATED: JCPS details plans for return to in-person instruction; Pollio says return could come in March

In each elementary school classroom, desks are numbered. Students will always sit in the same desk and will sit in the spot in the cafeteria that matches their corresponding number. This way, the schools will always know who is next to each other for contact tracing if needed.

Classrooms are currently set up according to the number of students who have said they will come back, following CDC and KDE guidelines.

“If we go overcapacity, it is going to be very, very difficult to do six feet of distancing,” Gutermuth Elementary Principal Laura Mullaney said.

Distancing could also be tougher to grasp for elementary students, but they’re getting a little help with guidelines in the hallways. There are Xs on the floor where they should stand, six feet apart.

“The biggest challenge will be that very first day, getting them to pay attention to the Xs,” Mullaney said.

While there are still some details to work out, classrooms are ready to welcome back students. Teachers and administrators have been working for months to plan a return.

Whether they will actually be able to sit in these classrooms, is still to be determined.

Tuesday the JCPS Board of Education will hold a special work session to hear from medical professionals.

RELATED: Schools can safely reopen without vaccinating teachers, CDC says

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