Like other private schools in the area, Heritage Christian School will return to the classroom on Jan. 5, officials confirmed Friday.
Owensboro Catholic, St. Mary of the Woods and Trinity High schools, as well as Grace Christian Academy, already announced plans to return in full to in-person learning Jan. 5.
Restrictions on in-person learning expire Jan. 4, but a new executive order from Gov. Andy Beshear recommends waiting until at least Jan. 11.
The new order includes certain requirements for public schools, but the order only serves a recommendation for private schools.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday declined a request to block Gov. Andy Beshear’s previous order that suspended in-person classes at private and public schools across the state, in part because of timing.
Heritage Christian Academy
Administrator Tim Hoak said Heritage Christian School is committed to regular, in-person instruction as the best way to move forward, so they plan to start classes as usual on Jan. 5. They will have all the safe and healthy protocols in place, just as they have since school started in August.
Hoak also commented on the Supreme Court ruling.
“While the Supreme Court’s decision was not in our favor, we are encouraged that a significant part of their argument had to do with timing — only a few school days were left until the Governor’s executive order expires in January. Dissenting Justice Alito also wrote, ‘While I do not agree with the Court’s denial of the applicants’ request for emergency relief, no one should misinterpret that denial as signifying approval of the Sixth Circuit’s decision.’ That decision was the one that upheld the Governor’s appeal to maintain his executive order.”
Owensboro Catholic Schools
Keith Osborne, Chief Administrative Officer for OCS, said on Thursday their school system is looking forward to returning Jan. 5.
“Just as we have done since in-person instruction began on Aug. 26, we will continue to strictly implement all safe at school protocols,” he said. “We are grateful for the support of our Bishop, our Superintendent, and other key leaders who have provided direction and guidance throughout this most challenging year.”
According to a release, the Catholic Schools Office for the Diocese of Owensboro announced that in-person instruction will resume following the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Each of the 17 Catholic schools in the Diocese has been given the option to return to in-person instruction as early as Jan. 4, allowing officials to make an informed decision based on their individual community COVID-19 situation.
“OCS transitioned seamlessly to virtual instruction as required, but our belief is that there is no replacement for in-person instruction, Osborne said. “We will monitor closely the situation in our community and will adapt, as necessary. Our families have done a really good job in making the right choices throughout this first semester to do their part in keeping our schools open, and I know we can continue to count on their complete support of our efforts.”
On Wednesday, officials with St. Mary and Trinity said they will welcome students back to the school buildings on Jan. 4.
“We will continue to follow all Healthy at School guidelines as we did the first 55 days of in-person instruction,” said Anna McDaniel, Director of Advancement & Admissions.
McDaniel said all the desks are 6 feet apart in every classroom so they can maintain social distancing.
Grace Christian Academy
Chris Holmes, Head of School, said, “Unless something unforeseen happens, we intend to return to in-person instruction on Jan 5. At this point we see nothing that would prohibit us from gathering together. We will continue to rigorously guard against COVID through the use of masks, distancing, and hygiene.”
Local public schools
Owensboro and Daviess County public schools have not made their plans public but are expected to do so in the coming days or by the end of 2020.