Madison County pushes back start of school; will begin virtually

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RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Madison County Board of Education on Thursday night reluctantly voted to push the start of school to Wednesday, September 2, and begin the school year with online learning only.

In a post on its Facebook page, the school district said the move was made under advisement from its legal counsel and following a meeting with the Kentucky Department of Education.

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The Richmond Register reports the action was taken at Thursday night’s meeting after tearful testimony and desperate pleas from students, teachers and parents to begin the new school year with in-person instruction.

“We have guns being held at us under the table,” school board member Brandon Rutherford said, according to the newspaper report.

Rutherford and others referred to Governor Andy Beshear’s recommendation this week to all schools in Kentucky to delay the start of in-person classes at least until September 28 due to the surging coronavirus.

The district says it’s returning to its original three-option plan, including in-person instruction to begin September 28.

Students who chose Option 1 (in-person instruction) will be contacted at the beginning of next week for more details for the start of school, according to the district.

Students who originally selected Option 2 (interactive distance learning) or Option 3 (independent distance learning) will begin the school year virtually and will continue in that format after in-person instruction is allowed, according to MCPS.

Below is from the school district’s post on Facebook:

“We understand the frustration and inconvenience this decision causes the majority of families in our community. And we hope you all know how immensely disappointed we are to postpone in-person instruction. We remain committed to our belief that in-person instruction is what is best for kids, especially after being isolated for such a long period of time. We will continue to prepare to have students in the buildings as quickly as possible and will welcome them with the same enthusiasm no matter what date the calendar reads.”

“Thank you for your support as we make these extremely difficult and often unfair decisions. We are so grateful for this community!”

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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.