KENTUCKY — Schools around Kentucky are announcing their plans for reopening as the start of the school year draws closer. Here's what we know so far about plans for schools in the South Central and Northern parts of the commonwealth.
Warren County Public Schools is one of the many districts offering both virtual and in person learning come August. However, faculty and staff assure students and parents that distant learning will look much different in the fall than it did in the spring.
The Virtual Academy is a learning platform students can use to follow along with lessons from home. Teachers will provide videos teaching their subject content, and online quizzes, tests and assignments will be provided to complete outside of the classroom.
Director of Instruction for Secondary Schools Laura Hudson says tools are embedded into the platform to offer various resources to students.
“There's all kinds of resources within the digital curriculum, such as a glossary, guided notes, there’s even a feature to have you read some of the text so it can help you with difficult words, but the students can control that on a daily basis,” said Hudson.
Technology will be incorporated across the board, making an easy transition for students who may fall ill or have a positive case reported in their classroom.
The district will go based on green, yellow and red tiers. The green tier will allow students to learn in the classroom at a safe distance with masks and offer distance learning. The yellow tier will take place if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19, and some activities will be scaled back. The red tier will transfer all students to online learning in the event of a district-wide shutdown.
Virtual academy can be accessed at any time of the day, but students must interact with it daily. The platform offers interactive assignments and activities that allow students to move with their class, and Hudson says it's programmed to track interactivity, attendance and participation.
“They do have to participate actively so they can’t log in and let a video play and just sit passively. They have to interact with the many different multimedia forms. It's actually tracking the students' active minutes so they get locked out of the program if they aren’t actively participating,” said Hudson.
At the beginning of the school year, students learning online will receive a more synchronous learning style, offering guided assistance with teachers and staff. However, Hudson says as the semester goes on, students learning virtually will move to a more a-synchronous learning style utilizing e-mail, discussion boards and collaboration corners.
“After we get through some of our digital citizenship and time to work on individual learning plans and build a little bit of community and establish the trusting environment where kids feel safe to take risks to learn, then we’re going to be moving into more time in the digital curriculum and working a-synchronously,” says Hudson.
The following schools are offering students the option of going back to school in person or online and their first day of school:
- Warren County Public Schools: Aug. 12, 2020*
- Barren County Schools: Aug. 24, 2020*
- Butler County Schools: Aug. 26, 2020*
- Hart County Schools: Aug. 25, 2020
- Logan County Schools: Aug. 26, 2020 (online option only available during state of emergency)
- Monroe County Schools: Aug. 14, 2020
- Edmunson County Schools: Sept. 8, 2020*
- Simpson County Schools: Aug. 26, 2020*
*Requires a nine week commitment to online learning
Allen and MetCalfe County Schools have not yet released their reopening plans.
School officials across Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties are working to create reopening options.
In Boone and Kenton counties, surveys have been distributed to families.
In Kenton County, there are several options. Parents will need to decide if they want their child attending in-person classes with safety measures, if they prefer the synchronous model where students learn online in real time, or virtual learning where students learn at their own pace.
Meanwhile in Boone County, parents are being asked to commit to a back to school decision for the next school year. Families can either decide in-person or virtual classes.
In Campbell county, school officials are creating a reopening plan and will discuss those details during Monday’s Board of Education meeting.
In the coming weeks, these school officials are hoping to make their plans more concrete.