Pulaski cases tied to church, schools weigh graduation, other decisions


PULASKI COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – As stressed as parents may be getting with the prolonged break caused by the coronavirus, Pulaski County’s school superintendent today urged them to stick with it because schools may be out another month.

And the district has not yet made a decision on whether a traditional graduation can or will be held.

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And while the county may not like the attention, it continues to be an example of what happens when social distancing rules aren’t followed as 11 of the county’s 12 cases are linked to a church where a woman who didn’t know she had the virus attended a service earlier in March.

“I know parents are getting a little stressed,” Pulaski County Superintendent Pat Richardson said Tuesday on a Facebook update with county Judge Executive Stephen Kelley. “Parents don’t know how to be full-time teachers and we understand that.”

Richardson urged parents to reach out to their schools and their children’s teachers with questions.

“These ‘I Learn’ programs were meant for use for a day or two of weather delays, not anything like this,” Richardson added.

Parents should be at Day 17 of the ‘I Learn’ lessons by April 3. And he said the district could use up to 41 days of lessons if schools stay out into May.

And Richardson stressed the importance of completing the lessons and getting them turned back in.

“A ‘0’ has a big impact on a grade,” he stated.

The district will distribute more lessons on April 13 when the district returns from what would have been spring break.

Although school is scheduled to restart April 20 after the current coronavirus closure, he warned parents to “don’t be surprised if the governor doesn’t ask everyone to stay out longer,” Richardson stated.

The district already has postponed proms and is not sure what will happen with them going forward. “It will depend on what the social distancing rules look like,” Richardson said.

District leaders also have not yet made a decision about graduation but just in case, already has been studying possible alternatives, including virtual graduation.

“We don’t have the information we need right now to be able o look that far ahead. We know how important graduation is to the students and families. It probably will be the first of May before we know or can make a decision,” he said.

May 15 was supposed to be the last day of school, but the district is making April 3 which was supposed to be a teacher work day an actual school day so the last day of school now will be May 14.The school district’s feeding program is continuing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For schedules and information, check the district’s web site.

School campuses also are closed and the district, with the help of law enforcement, is going to start enforcing social-distancing rules and the closures at playgrounds and basketball and tennis courts.

“Anyone using them will be asked to leave. We know people like to gather there, but we just can’t have it.”

Science Hill schools will be doing their meal plan for students April 2 with pick up for breakfasts and lunches between 10 a.m. and noon. Parents also can pick up the next round of at-home lessons and drop off completed ones then, Kelley said, passing along information from the district.

On April 1 and April 2, parents in Somerset Schools can pick up and drop off lessons between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. using a drive-through style and their children’s schools, Kelley said.

The district also will be doing sack lunches — three on Mondays and two on Thursdays — next week. See the school district’s web site for information, Kelley said.

As for coronavirus cases, of the 12 in the county, two have recovered. Of the total, 11 originated in the same church.

“These are temporary storms we’re in and we’ll get out of them together,” Kelley said, urging county residents to take even tougher steps toward slowing the spread of the illness.

He also urged people to report businesses not following the rules to state state hotline: 833-597-2337.

He urged use of the county’s hotline for personal emergencies: 606-451-0810.

“If you can’t get to your essential medicines or can’t get something you really need or can’t get out, use that number,” Kelley said.

He also urged residents to give to the God’s Food Pantry, which can purchase basic supplies at greatly discounted prices but is running low on funds.

He said donations could be mailed to P.O. Box 259, Somerset, Ky. 42502 or could be made by credit card by calling 606-679-8560.