Classrooms Remain Closed for Rest of the Year

FRANKFORT, Ky. — 2020 is not a good year for seniors in junior high, high school or college. The coronavirus has turned rites of passage into thoughts of what could-have-should-have been.

Governor Andy Beshear (D-Kentucky) announced Monday, April 20 that all in-person classes in Kentucky be canceled for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers and students will continue with non-traditional instruction (NTI) for the remainder of the year.

Beshear had a teleconference with Kentucky’s’ public school superintendents and said the closure of schools should remain even after Kentucky reaches phase one of the federally recommended guidelines to reopen the state. 

“Because of that, I’m not going to be able to recommend that we resume in-person classes this year,” Beshear said. “It’s just not going to be safe for our kids, it’s not going be safe for our families and it could frustrate all the gains we have made to this point.”

In conjunction with the governor’s announcement, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) put out a plan to maximize NTI during the continuing pandemic. 

Districts will continue NTI for the remainder of the year and the plan also grants relief from reaching the equivalent of 1,062 hours of instruction.

“Our schools have been closed to in-person classes, but our schools have not been closed. This does provide you some certainty, though,” Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown said. “Here is something that we’re going to be able to do at the state level that I think will assist everyone.”

With this announcement, proms and graduations will not take place in their traditional forms. Beshear said in his Monday briefing he looks forward to hearing creative solutions to help seniors celebrate their accomplishments.

Beshear said it is too early to tell whether the closure period might be extended into the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

“I’m committed to do all I can to help this state meet the benchmarks to have as normal a school experience in the fall as possible,” he said.