FRANKFORT, Ky. — As school districts across the commonwealth wrap up the 2020 year and students begin their winter breaks, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released guidance for school districts on reopening in January.

What You Need To Know

  • KDE has released reopening guidance for Kentucky school districts resuming in-person instruction in January

  • Districts should open no earlier than Jan. 11 — "red zone" schools should consider hybrid model

  • KDE recommends staggering reopening, prioritizing students with the greatest risk of learning loss

  • All schools should maintain mask mandates, social distancing, health screenings, and contact tracing

The KDE guidance for reopening includes measures include reopening no earlier than Jan. 11 and staggering reopening plans by prioritizing students with the greatest risk of learning loss.

Gov. Andy Beshear's most recent executive order, issued Dec. 18, established standards for reopening and recommended districts not to resume in-person instruction until Jan. 11.

KDE's guidance is concurrent with Beshear's order and recommendations from the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH).

Once schools reopen, they will be expected to maintain COVID-19 safety protocols including mask mandates, social distancing, health screenings, and contact tracing.

Districts in counties still designated as "red zones" by Kentucky's incidence map should consider more of a hybrid model of operation in January, according to the KDE.

Schools must continue to offer “robust and rigorous” virtual programs, including access to Advanced Placement. Additionally, all public schools are expected to comply with the safety expectations set forth in the Guidance on Safety Expectations and Best Practices for Kentucky Schools.

"District leaders should carefully review this new requirement and implement measures to allow remote work for teachers and staff considered high risk," the KDE wrote in an email. "Furthermore, districts also may consider providing voluntary remote working arrangements to those staff members not covered by the executive order or the Americans with Disabilities Act."

KDE's full reopening guidance can be found here.

Bryce Shreve is a digital producer with Spectrum News 1 KY. He is a recent graduate of Indiana University Southeast and joined the staff in November, 2020.