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Lawmakers Okayed 20 Extra Remote Learning Days. Fayette County Just Used 3.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Less than 24 hours after the Fayette County school board voted to grant Superintendent Demetrus Liggins sole authority to switch schools or classes to remote learning, the school leader has done just that – citing concerns about COVID-19 trends at Dixie Magnet Elementary School. 

All 540 students at Dixie Elementary will shift to remote learning for the remainder of the week, following several symptomatic cases among students and teachers.

"It was definitely not done in haste," Superintendent Liggins said Tuesday. "It was done out of abundance of caution and what I feel is in the best interest of our students and their health."

The three days of limited remote learning count against the 20 days allotted to school districts under legislation passed by the Kentucky General Assembly last week. That leaves Fayette with just 17 at-home learning days for individual schools or classes (to be used by Dec. 31), and 10 district-wide non-traditional instruction days.

While Liggins said the district appreciates the added options, it's "not nearly the amount of flexibility that I think a district of our size and complexity really needs."

One strategy that could cut back on the need for the days is what's known as a test-to-stay model. It allows more students to remain in class after an exposure as long as they test negative. The district has plans to implement the model, in tandem with the Centers for Disease Control, but that program isn’t yet in effect.

Fayette officials have discussed requiring proof of vaccination or weekly tests, Liggins said, but for now the district is awaiting more guidance from the federal level before making a decision.