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KY's Catholic Schools Will Start The Fall Semester In-Person Next Week

Just after Governor Andy Beshear requested that K-12 schools wait until September 28th to return to the classroom, Bishops from the four Catholic Dioceses in Kentucky held a zoom meeting and decided their schools were prepared and ready to start by the original request made by the Governor, which was the third week of August.

Tom Brown is the Superintendent of Catholic schools in the Lexington Diocese. He said administrators have been putting plans in place and working to ensure safety protocols for the last three months. And, private schools have the advantage of limiting the number of students in the building, which will make it easier to socially distance. “We can cap our classrooms to whatever that classroom can handle and what our principles did across our diocese was to measure the classrooms, see how many students they could put in there at being socially distanced at six feet apart and then determine how many that classroom could hold. So we have some places that can hold twenty and some that can hold twelve.”

Superintendent Brown said there are also no arguments over masks. All students, teachers and staff must wear them if they are less than six feet apart or moving through the building for any reason. “That will be enforced which means unlike public schools if someone chooses not to do that then they have the right to go to school someplace else.”

Many of the schools have also set up the pod system, which means students will stay in one room throughout the day. Brown said they know there will be positive tests of the coronavirus and they will work with local health departments for guidance and always have the option to switch to virtual learning.

During his daily press briefing on Wednesday, Governor Andy Beshear was asked about schools that are choosing to reopen their doors before the recommended return date. The Governor said, "I don't agree with their decision and don’t think it’s safe."  As far as the pod system that many private schools are utilizing, Beshear said "Any school that decides to go back, I want to use the best practices. I don't want them to fail. I worry that at this point, I'm convinced that it's going to be very hard this week and the next week to do it successfully but any extra step they take I want them to take because I want the students there to be safe, and their teachers."

There are 126 Roman Catholic schools in Kentucky, with just over 37-thousand students.