Fayette County Schools will start the year online


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky’s second largest school district is following the state’s largest and several others, voting to start the school year fully online. The board voted unanimously to follow Superintendent Manny Caulk’s proposal.

Caulk says non-traditional instruction will be different in the fall from the spring because the district, teachers, staff and even parents have developed better approaches.

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Caulk recommended the online start because of what he’s calling a “summer surge” of COVID-19. He says the virus is spreading in Fayette County and it’s been hard to get test results back quickly.

The superintendent made his proposal to the board Thursday afternoon and the board voted 5-0 to accept it after hearing almost three hours of presentations and discussions.

The spring was the first time the district, like many districts across the state, had used non-traditional instruction for any extended period.

For the upcoming year, the district says Chromebook computers and hotspots will be available for all students and families.

Caulk’s team also went over survey results from staff members and nearly 34,000 of 41,000 families.

District spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said those results showed a majority of families were “likely or somewhat likely” to send kids back to class. Deffendall said 9,000 were interested in a virtual-only option.

The district also considered a hybrid option of groups of students receiving in-person instruction on some days and virtual learning the rest; Deffendall says that was the most preferred option on the survey.

However, she says families voiced concern about the rigor and consistency of NTI learning, saying those areas would need to improve.

Deffendall says families and teachers are also worried about not being on the same schedule as their child if the district were to adopt a hybrid schedule in the future. She says the groups want to be in school and at home on the same days as their children. And if they have children in different grades, they would like them on the same schedule as well.

After the vote to start the school year online, the board continued talks about future instruction possibly leading to traditional, hybrid, and a new model called “NTI-2DL.”

Anyone who would like to give feedback on Thursday’s decision can do so by sending an email to feedback@fayette.kyschools.us

Other districts including Jefferson the state’s biggest, and Franklin, in the state capitol, have decided to begin the school year online.

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