LEXINGTON, Ky. — Nearly 30 school districts across the state have temporarily closed at some point this school year, instead of using their NTI days. The Kentucky Department of Education said that’s because currently, public schools can only use up to 10 NTI days throughout the entire school year.
What You Need To Know
- Thanks to a new state law, Kentucky public schools only have 10 NTI days per school year
- Nearly 30 schools have temporarily closed so far this school year
- Kentucky Department of Education is working to increase the amount of NTI days
- Schools that temporarily close will make up those days later in the school year
Under a new Kentucky law, public schools can only use up to 10 days of non-traditional instruction days each school year. Toni Konz Tatman with the Kentucky Department of Education said that small amount gives school districts limited options when it comes to virtual learning.
“Last year there were some temporary changes that had been made to state law that allowed our districts to use NTI for several weeks, several months, and those changes that were made have since expired,” Konz Tatman said.
In the past, school districts have been able to use NTI days in many different ways, but the non-traditional learning days were never designed to exceed 10 days.
“You can switch to non-traditional instruction, and in the past, they've been used for snow, for flooding, for flu. Obviously for last year, it was used for COVID, Sickness, those types of things,” Konz Tatman said.
As COVID-19 numbers increase around the state, more and more school districts are temporarily closing – some due to staff shortages and others because of the limited amount of NTI days available.
“Right now, the Kentucky Department of Education and our commissioner is working with the Kentucky Board of Education, Governor Andy Beshear, and legislative leaders on some potential changes that will create some additional options, and hopefully some flexibility for our districts because we know that these 10 days are not going to work for our districts,” Konz Tatman said.
They said the KDE understands the frustration from families, staff and students because of the pandemic, but they are working to find new ways to adapt to these difficult situations.
“We know it's been an incredibly trying start to this school year, we know and we certainly want our focus to have our students in school for in person instruction, however you know we are experiencing a really tough time with this pandemic,” Konz Tatman said.