FRANKFORT, Ky. — It appears that in-school instruction in Kentucky has been canceled for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
The Kentucky Department of Education confirmed via social media that a conversation took place with Governor Andy Beshear recommending that schools across the Commonwealth do not return for in person classes due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“This is something I think our superintendents were expecting,” Beshear said Monday. “Every health care professional had advised us this is the right course of action to take.”
Beshear previously extended his order and recommended schools return to in-person learning on May 1.
Last week, the JCPS Board of Education decided to move the last day for students to June 3.
Schools will continue non-traditional instruction in order to reach the required 1,062 instructional hours.
Even once schools finish those hours, Beshear said Monday schools won’t be able to hold traditional spring Proms or Graduation Ceremonies.
“I wasn’t surprised, I pretty much knew this was going to be how it was going to go considering the number of COVID cases that are here in the state,” JCPS parent Susan Mitchell said.
Mitchell’s son, Matthew, is currently a senior finishing up at Eastern High School, with plans to go on to U.K. for a degree in computer science. He’ll be one of thousands of seniors not getting to walk across the stage this year.
“I know what a milestone this is,” Mitchell said. “I don’t know if we’ll see him walk across the stage in his cap and gown to get his diploma. It’s very disappointing.”
Matthew is graduating with honors as one of his class’s valedictorians, which is why Mitchell said it’ll be especially hard not to see her son’s ceremony.
“It would’ve been nice to see him publicly acknowledged for those things,” she said. “Even if it’s in July. I hope that they do get to do it.”
During his official announcement Monday, Beshear said graduation ceremonies could possibly take place in creative ways.
“What we’re looking at right now are opportunities to do this virtually or perhaps through some type of drive in service,” he said.
Regardless of what happens, Mitchell said she’ll consider other ways her family can celebrate Matthew’s accomplishments, such as a parade or sign in their yard.
“We all need to just keep the faith that our kids will be fine no matter what happens and we’ll just have to do whatever we can as families, even if it’s small celebrations just to let them know they’re special and what they’ve done is important,” Mitchell said.
Here’s how other districts are handling the move:
Elementary and middle school students‘ progress will be recorded as “Met or Not Yet Met curriculum standards. If that student has “not yet met” a standard, officials say the teacher and family will work together to create a plan to help that student meet their goals.
For high school students, and middle school students taking high school level classes, they will receive letter grades. Students participating in NTI can help their grade improve while non-participation could lead to an Incomplete. There will also be a plan to help high school students to make-up work if they should happen to receive an “incomplete” in a course.
The Archdiocese of Louisville says students will continue their alternative instruction through Friday, May 15. They say by then, Catholic schools would have met their annual requirements for instructional days and hours.
Students will continue NTI but district officials have not determined a date when they are expected to wrap up.