It’s official: K-12 students at Owensboro and Daviess County Public Schools will go back to in-person instruction five days per week beginning March 22. Each district will still be offering their virtual academies.
Each district’s board of education approved the proposed instruction plans during Thursday meetings.
The full proposed plans — both of which were approved with no changes — can be found below, as can the highlights of the plans.
OPS Superintendent Matthew Constant and DCPS Superintendent Matt Robbins discussed each district’s proposal during a joint virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Transferring into or out of Virtual Academy
Both OPS and DCPS will continue to offer the virtual academies for families who do not want their children to return in-person full-time. Both districts are allowing students to transfer into or out of the academies.
OPS: Parents/guardians who wish to move their child to Virtual Academy for the final nine weeks or move them to in-person, email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, March 12. No changes will be made after March 12 and the decision is final for the remainder of the school year.
DCPS: Parents/guardians who wish to transfer their child to the Virtual Academy for the final nine weeks should send an email with the student’s name, school and grade, and parent/guardian contact information to dcpsVArequest@daviess.kyschools.us by Monday, March 8. A form will be emailed to all DCPS families on Friday, Feb. 26, providing an opportunity for children in the Virtual Academy to request a transfer to in-person by Monday, March 8. Requests for transfers will not be accepted after March 8 and the decision is final for the remainder of the school year.
OPS: Preschool students will operate on a full five-day schedule as well.
DCPS: Preschool students will remain on their current schedule (attending in person one day per week) through at least Spring Break because of a continued shortage of school bus drivers. Officials hope to resume our regular schedule for preschoolers as soon as possible. Parents of children enrolled in preschool should watch for a follow-up communication with specific information for their family.
Schedule changes (DCPS)
Both districts will still have no school April 5-9 during Spring Break.
OPS: This district is scheduled to have some form of in-person or virtual learning each day until the full return to the classroom. As such, their last day of school is still set for May 18.
DCPS: The district used two snow days last week and will not have school on the first three Fridays of March — the first two will allow for staff to receive the second dose of vaccinations and the third allows for a staff prep day.
As such, DCPS has extended the school year to May 27 as the last day of school for students.
Distancing in school buildings
OPS: Constant said the district already tried to make their classrooms distanced for the A/B method of learning. Now with more students being brought back under one roof, “we will do the best we can in our classrooms in terms of pulling out extraneous stuff that teachers can maybe do without for the last grading period and really leave what’s essential in the classroom.”
Constant continued, “Depending on the number of students in class, it still could be possible that there are a number of kids in a classroom. We are working between now and then to really do an audit of space in all our buildings … to see if there is any room to move students, to pull small groups of students out of a large room, to utilize our outdoor classroom spaces. We will do the best we can to the greatest extent possible, and that still will follow our guidance that we’ve been receiving lately.
DCPS: Robbins said they’re also looking into every option to help ensure distancing throughout the district.
“When we can be 6 feet apart in any situation, that’s exactly what we are going to do,” he sai. “We’re certainly going to maximize our space — media center, auditorium, gym, even cafeteria when it’s unused — all of those additional spaces will be utilized throughout our schools to distance to the fullest extent possible.”
Distancing on school buses
OPS: Constant said the district was “pretty landlocked,” meaning they don’t have long ride times. He said the maximum amount of time on buses is about 20 minutes most of the time. “We hope that with masking, and being safe and distancing whenever possible on the bus, that’s the direction we will go on busing.”
DCPS: Robbins said they have ride times up to about an hour for some students. However, they are seeing “far fewer” students riding the bus, as many parents are taking children to school when possible. They also seat children of the same household together.
Vaccine update for school staff
OPS and DCSP staff who elected to receive the vaccine were administered the first doses earlier this month. The second dose will be administered over the first two weekends in March.
Robbins said roughly 60% of staff will have received the vaccine once the second doses are administered. Constant said almost 80% of their staff chose to receive the vaccine.