The district is working closely with the Oldham County Health Department and monitoring an array of local factors that affect the potential spread of COVID-19.
Our District Reopening Committee is reviewing the most current local, state, and federal guidelines and updating our Reopening Plan for 2021-2022. Administrators recognize that no decision will satisfy all of the parents of our 12,000+ students. Knowing that, we are committed to making decisions that promote a high-level of safety while respecting personal choice and responsibility. The district will continue to strongly encourage both vaccination and mask wearing.
We have been operating child care centers, summer school courses, and extended school year programs without a mask mandate. The data has demonstrated little to no COVID-19 transmission among students and staff. This is something we will continue to watch as we plan for the new school year.
Reopening plans from the district will be released by the end of this week. Schools will have their own plans for lunch periods and spacing for social distancing within each building. The district plan will include guidance on symptoms, cleaning and sanitizing, quarantine requirements, social distancing when/where feasible, ventilation, mask wearing, personal protective equipment requirements, and other COVID-19 related protocols. The Reopening Plan is subject to revision as conditions change in our community and schools. We are not ruling out putting additional or more stringent restrictions in place in the future if the conditions warrant such restrictions.
The Virtual Learning Academy was a necessity during the height of the pandemic, but it was not designed to be an on-going educational entity. Many of the emergency regulations that allowed districts the leeway to operate a virtual program expired at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Without the regulations being relaxed, it would not be possible to operate the same type of virtual program in the coming year. In-person instruction has consistently been shown to be the most effective mode of instruction and cannot be replicated virtually.
Based on our student population there is not a significant need for virtual-only instruction. Students who are medically fragile can contact Student Services at our district office with questions. Fortunately, the current data indicates that although the Delta variant is more contagious, it does not produce a more serious illness than the initial COVID-19 virus. This will allow the vast majority of students to attend in-person school without the risk of severe illness.
As the new school year starts, it is my hope that the desire for a safe and successful school year shared by parents and educators will bring us together for the betterment of all our students.
Jason Radford, Ed.D
Oldham County Schools