Fayette County Public School classes begin August 26

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Fayette County Board of Education on Monday night unanimously approved this year’s school calendar, according to the school district.

Classes will begin online only on Wednesday, August 26, two weeks after the original start date, due to the surge in coronavirus cases in the community, according to the district.

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The last day of school is scheduled for May 13, 2021.

Spring Break is scheduled for March 29-April 2, 2021.

The board also voted to add ten minutes to the instructional day, according to officials.

The school system says Chromebooks have been purchased for every student in the district.  Hotspots will be available for families who don’t have access to the Internet, according to the district.

Lessons will be delivered via Google Classroom at the elementary level and Canvas at the middle and high school levels, according to the district.

The district says it will continuously monitor the pandemic with the hopes of eventually transitioning to in-person instruction in the classroom or a combination of in-person and online learning, according to officials.

Below is a letter sent to families Monday night by Superintendent Manny Caulk:

Dear Fayette County Public Schools Families:

The first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year will be Wednesday, August 26, following a unanimous vote of the Fayette County Board of Education this evening. Given that COVID-19 is currently surging in our community, the school board had previously voted to begin the year with Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI).

Please be assured that the distance learning offered through NTI this fall will be very different than it was last spring. Under “NTI 2DL: Differentiated Distance Learning,” students will have more time with their teachers, more direct instruction, and more consistency.

Chromebooks have been purchased so that every student in the district will receive one and will have access to digital curriculum programs. We also have hotspots available for families who do not have access to the internet. Lessons will be delivered via Google Classroom at the elementary level and Canvas at the middle and high school level. Teachers will focus on new learning, assess students for individual areas of unfinished learning, and hold students to high expectations.

Pushing the first day of school from August 12 to August 26 will give our staff more time for professional learning and planning. District staff have been hard at work developing modules to help our teachers prepare for the 2020-2021 school year and learn creative ways of engaging students in distance learning until we can return to campus. More information about the Virtual Learning Academy – for families who do not want in-person learning for their children – will be available during the first week of August.

My hope is that our community will double-down on efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 so that it will be safe to return to in-person instruction soon. We are committed to revisiting decisions about the model of instruction at least every six weeks, but we are in close contact with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department to monitor infection levels and will make shifts more frequently as warranted.

Our reopening task force has developed detailed health and safety protocols for a return to campus and implementation of those measures is already underway. We have developed a booklet to outline the preventative practices and enhanced mitigation measures that we have been working on. It is attached to this email, but can also be accessed online.

Your voice is critical to ensuring a successful 2020-2021 school year. To share thoughts with all members of the Fayette County Board of Education, email feedback@fayette.kyschools.us.

Thank you for your continued support.

Your Partner,

Manny Caulk

Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.