Fayette Schools Eye November Return To Classes, But Don't Mark Your Calendar Just Yet

Sep 28, 2020

The Fayette County School Board has set target dates for a phased return to in-person learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but the schedule remains tentative until the board receives further details on the proposals.

Credit Josh James / WUKY

Parents and teachers hoping for firm plans on when the district expects to restart traditional classes will have to settle for penciled-in dates. The two to remember for now: October 19th, when the district may begin offering limited in-person tutoring and supplemental services, and November 2, when schools might switch to a hybrid plan.

But both dates come with an asterisk.  

"I think that us having receipt of specifics is key to all of this. That's the missing piece of the puzzle," said board member Tyler Murphy, who expressed alarm at how little information teachers have on what services and classes might look like.

The board voted to set the indefinite dates on the condition that plans for the limited services are delivered by October 12th, followed by more robust plans for the hybrid learning model on October 26th.

Superintendent Manny Caulk noted district planners had to shift gears quickly when the county's COVID-19 spread warning reached red, or critical, for three days the previous week. The uptick meant the state recommendation shifted from hybrid learning to remote instruction.

Under the current plan, any changes the county's learning model would start with elementary schools and work up to all grade levels. The hybrid school schedule would separate students into two cohorts, one meeting on Mondays and Tuesdays, the other on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday would be all-virtual to allow for school cleaning.

One major question mark: how many students and teachers feel comfortable returning. Board member Christy Morris said she'd like to see an effort to pair up those who aren't for continued online classes.

"I know that it would be messy, but I guess I just hoped that we would give schools the flexibility if they were able to pull it off," she said.

The board agreed that athletics and extracurricular activities have been successful in implementing virus precautions and will be allowed to continue on their current schedule.

The decisions came after more than three hours of discussion during Monday night's regular meeting.