With COVID surge in county, Jessamine Schools extend virtual learning

JESSAMINE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – With coronavirus cases o the rise in the county, Jessamine County school leaders are extending online learning through the end of September.

Superintendent Mike Moore made the announcement late Tuesday.

The school board had promised to review the situation in early September and followed up with that promise.

Below is Moore’s letter to parents:

Dear JCS Families,
Although the beginning of this school year was very different, it was as exciting as it was unique.

Teachers were well-prepared to begin the year with online learning and their creativity and enthusiasm were evident as they connected with students and hit the ground running.

Thank you, JCS families, for supporting us by ensuring that your children were present and ready to learn. Many of our classes had a 100% participation rate and as I visited 75+ online sessions last week, students were engaged and actively involved.

While online learning was not anyone’s ideal way to begin the year, I am inspired by our successful start and we will continue to build on that foundation moving forward.

As we approached this school year, I made the commitment to return to in-person instruction as soon as the determination was made that it was safe to bring students back to our campuses. While that decision is largely dependent on local COVID-19 data, a number of other factors must also be considered.

Just as it’s not in our students’ best interests to rely solely on state testing results as indicators of how well they’re learning, we cannot use limited criteria in isolation to make the very critical decision of when to bring our students back.

At last week’s board meeting, I was encouraged by the information shared by Randy Gooch, Director of the Jessamine County Health Department, indicating that our county was seeing a decline in the positivity rate of COVID-19. I met with Mr. Gooch again yesterday and learned that for the current week for which the data is available (ending August 30th,) the positivity rate for individuals testing in Jessamine County has climbed from the previously reported week’s rate of 3.21% to 7.14%, which is the highest positivity
rate recorded in Jessamine County to date.

The average daily case rate for the week ending August 30th is the fourth highest rate since the JCHD began tracking case numbers in March 2020. Our county has also moved from yellow status to orange, indicating our community is currently experiencing accelerated spread of COVID-19. The chart below shows the recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases.

The recent escalation of COVID-19 cases in our community has been mirrored in our school district, as we continue to receive an increased number of reports of staff and students who have tested positive and/or who have been quarantined. We are continuing to work with the JCHD on the required contact tracing and we are monitoring the number of individuals affected.

More than 20 Jessamine County teachers and administrators have quarantined over the past 4 instructional days and, if we had been providing in-person instruction, these staff members would have been in direct contact with multiple students, potentially exposing them to the virus and significantly increasing the number of required quarantines throughout the community. It should also be noted that these teachers would not have been available for in-person instruction due to the quarantine requirements.

I want to supply as much information as quickly as possible to allow our staff and our student families time to make plans and adjustments. In light of the current situation and to provide this lead time, I have made the decision to delay in-person instruction until at least September 28th as Governor Beshear has recommended. I am so very eager to begin in-person instruction, but not at the potential cost of the health of our students, staff, and community.

We have the tools and the ability to provide stable, engaging, and successful learning opportunities for our students through online learning. While in-person instruction is extremely important, safety is paramount and consistency is vital. Had we started the year with in-person school, the Jessamine County Health Department and I firmly believe that we would have already been required to shift to online instruction, necessitating more adjustments for our students and staff. I know that you understand that there is no perfect solution for our situation. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support as we work together to do what’s best for our entire JCS family.

Matt Moore

Categories: Featured, Local News, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *