Schools should return to some form of in-person learning March 1: Beshear

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In this Sept. 23, 2020, file photo, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear proposed an infusion of aid into Kentucky's coronavirus-battered economy on Thursday evening, Jan. 7, 2021, announcing an ambitious budget plan that includes down-payments on his long-running goals of raising salaries for teachers and boosting public education funding.(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)Gov. Andy Beshear has issued a new executive order that recommends all school districts, including private schools, offer or expand some form of in-person instructional opportunities beginning March 1.

If district personnel have not yet finished their vaccine series as of March 1, the executive order recommends some form of in-person instruction begin seven days after they have received their second vaccination.

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“What we foresaw is that the safest way to expand in-person opportunities is to vaccinate all of our school personnel,” said Beshear during his daily briefing Tuesday. “Since then, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others have moved that way and other states have followed our lead.”

Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) issued a comprehensive, 136-page manual, KDE COVID-19 Guidance 2.0, which will assist with the shift back into school buildings.

“Kentucky continues to be a national leader in vaccinating our school staff, and getting our kids back in the classroom safely remains a top priority for every Kentuckian – from the Governor to our littlest learners,” said Coleman. “With this guidance, we hope to make the transition back to in-person learning as smooth and safe as possible.”

Coleman said the manual advises schools on planning school-related student travel; administering spring state testing; operating schools after teachers and staff are vaccinated; assessing knowledge gaps caused by the pandemic’s impact on learning; and using second round Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funding.

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23,Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:

New cases today: 1,497
New deaths today: 16
Positivity rate: 6.3%
Total deaths: 4,476
Currently hospitalized: 894
Currently in ICU: 242
Currently on ventilator: 121

Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Boone, Laurel and Kenton. Each county reported at least 60 new cases. Jefferson County reported 208.

To see a list of those reported lost to the virus today, click here.

The governor said Tuesday’s positivity rate is the state’s lowest since Nov. 4.

He also reminded Kentuckians that regional vaccination sites will begin accepting Phase 1C appointments March 1.

“Remember, there’s a lot of people in 1C, so it’s going to feel like it’s really hard to get an appointment in the beginning,” saidBeshear. “But our supply is increasing and we will get to you. Hang in there.”

State Hiring 12 New Conservation Officers
Buckner said applications are now being accepted for 12 conservation officer positions with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. Kentucky’s conservation officers are sworn law enforcement officers with statewide jurisdiction and have a primary mission to focus on hunting, fishing and boating laws.

The department seeks prospective conservation officers who reflect the diversity of all citizens of the commonwealth, including those who enjoy hunting, fishing and recreational boating in Kentucky. Interested applicants must be 21 years old, possess a valid driver’s license and submit a complete online application for each county of interest.

The deadline to apply is 7 p.m. (EST) on March 5. Visit personnel.ky.gov for more information.

More Information
To view the full daily reportincidence rate map, information on testing locationsvaccinescontact tracingschool reports and guidanceguidance for health care providers and the White House Coronavirus Task Force reports for Kentucky and more, visit kycovid19.ky.gov.