Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday recommending all school districts offer or expand some form of in-person instruction beginning March 1, or seven days after district personnel have received their second vaccination.
Additionally, all school requirements tied to the color-coded COVID-19 county incidence rate chart will be discontinued as of March 1. However, districts are still asked to use the map as a reference point when making decisions.
“We didn’t vaccinate our educators for nothing,” Beshear said. “We did this because we all know that we need some form of in-person learning.”
Beshear said the order is not a mandate, but a recommendation because decisions regarding in-person learning will be made at the local level.
Locally, Owensboro and Daviess County public schools both have versions of an A/B in-person learning plan in addition to virtual academies. Private schools all currently offer in-person classes five days per week.
Staff at OPS, DCPS, and OCS who elected to do so received their first vaccine doses earlier this month. The second doses will be administered over the first two weekends in March.
OPS and DCPS have not announced any plans at this point to increase the amount of in-person learning.
Beshear said only six of the state’s 171 school districts have not returned to some form of in-person instruction.
The executive order also asks that districts still implement universal mask usage of everyone inside school buildings, as well as continue to provide meaningful virtual options for families who elect to keep their children in NTI.
Schools are also asked to reduce density in classrooms, halls, schools buses and other areas of heightened risk.
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.