Harlan County cancel classes all week due to COVID-19 surge

HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Harlan County Public Schools canceled all classes, in-person and virtual, for the week of Dec. 14-18, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, according to the school superintendent.

Below is the letter posted to the school district’s Facebook page:

Superintendent Brent Roark has announced that the Harlan County School District will suspend virtual classes and targeted assistance this week due to the rapid spread of the Covid-19 virus in the community.

“We had hoped to continue on the same course in our response to Covid 19. However, the significant increase in community spread of Covid 19 throughout Harlan County has reached an alarming number this weekend. Our county incidence rate has risen to 89 with over 50 positives reported just yesterday. Our district health coordinators have received dozens of calls this weekend informing us of staff and students throughout the county who have tested positive.”

Roark said “We feel it is in our best interest to cancel school (both virtual and in-person classes) for the week of December 13th – 18th. This cancellation includes athletic practices at the high school level.”

Roark said “We regret this decision but feel the huge increase experienced late last week and this weekend has reached a point where this step is necessary. ”

Roark said he believes conditions will improve after vaccines become available and we will be able to have in person classes at some point after the Christmas break.

By canceling classes this coming week, those days will be added to the end of the calendar “just as we normally would for a cancellation. This will give the students another week of instruction in the spring.”

He said, “I am sorry that we could not continue with virtual instruction. With the number of teachers and students who have been infected by the virus in the last few days, and with the likelihood of further transmission among our staff, continuing with our current plan is not in our best interest or that of our community.”

“We must be able to get an accurate count on the number of staff who are positive or will be quarantined,” said Roark. “That number has grown so rapidly over the weekend that we don’t know where we will stand come Monday morning.

Roark said he commends the district’s custodians and staff for their work to control the spread within our facilities.

“We have very few cases where transmission has occurred at school and very few quarantines that resulted because of contact at work,” said Roark.

In an email to staff this morning, Roark said “All of you are doing a tremendous job of limiting your close contacts while you are at work. This is very much appreciated.”

Roark said on behalf of the Board of Education and the administrative and school staffs that ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you that are struggling with the virus yourself or with family members.”

“Things will improve and we will get our kids back in school,” he said.

Categories: coronavirus, Local News, News

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