Jefferson County Public Schools could go back in person on Tuesday, Superintendent Marty Pollio announced at a press conference this morning.
Pollio said the school district continues to see increasing COVID-19 cases among staff, which was the reason JCPS moved to virtual learning earlier this week. Roughly 11,000 school district employees, or 15-20% of its workforce, was in quarantine.
Pollio said JCPS officials will continue to monitor cases among students and staff through the weekend and into the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday. He said parents can expect an update Monday afternoon on whether classes will be in-person or virtual when students return on Tuesday.
“I’m very hopeful that we will be able to go back on Tuesday, but I also don’t want to give false hope,” he said.
Pollio said “it’s still too early to tell” what staffing levels will look like on Monday, with some staff returning from quarantine and others going out due to a positive test.
The school district was able to continue its meals program despite going virtual. It handed out more than 75,000 meals to families this week, according to JCPS officials. The district also administered over 17,000 COVID-19 tests.
Although official attendance numbers aren’t available yet, Pollio said JCPS saw millions of logins this past week to online learning programs.
“Anecdotally, what we’re hearing from schools is that attendance is much better than it’s ever been in [non-traditional instruction], especially with synchronous instruction,” he said. “I think kids are more used to that.”
Pollio warned that JCPS will have to be careful in using non-traditional instruction, or NTI, days moving forward. Under state law, the district only has six days left where it can have district-wide virtual learning.
Governor Andy Beshear signed a new bill into law Friday morning that grants 10 additional “remote learning days” to school districts. Unlike NTI days, remote learning can only be used for individual schools, grades or other groups of students, not for the entire district.