Carly Carver, Editor
The Ashland Beacon
Last week, Governor Andy Beshear, in consultation with Kentucky teachers and school administrators, announced new guidance asking schools to wait until Sept. 28 to begin in-person classes.
The Governor said the decision was driven by four factors: Kentucky’s cases being near a peak, an increase in infection rates among children across the U.S., the experience of school districts in other states and families continuing to travel to hotspots for vacations against the advice of health officials.
Ashland Independent Schools called a special board meeting on Thursday and the school board voted 4-1 to adhere to the governor’s recommendations and begin the school year with remote learning.
Ashland Independent Schools Superintendent Sean Howard, said that defying the governor’s recommendations would come with ramifications, leaving school boards with little choice.
“The superintendents were told that if a district opted to move forward with an in-person learning option at this time, then the superintendent, board chair, board vice chair, and board attorney would be required to meet with the Commissioner, Chair of the Kentucky Board of Education, and their legal counsel to discuss the matter further and explore potential ramifications of such a decision,” said Howard. “The superintendents were told that the local health department would have the authority to shut down a school and that the governor’s office also has the authority to issue various executive orders affecting schools deciding not to follow the recommendations.”
Howard said the district strongly considered the possibility of moving forward with in-person instruction but were advised this approach would not be acceptable.
“We have concluded that there is little choice but to follow the recommendations from the governor’s office,” said Howard.
The Governor responded to Ashland Independent Schools disapproval at a press conference on Friday.
“I’m just trying to make the best recommendation I can for the safety of your children,” said Beshear. “It means my children aren’t going to be back in school as early as I would like them to. We look at the numbers every day. Our Department of Public Health works on this virus every day. I’m seeing huge numbers of school’s struggle with that and I worry about the health and safety of your kids, of their teachers, and of their caregivers. I ran to be an education-first governor and I’m trying to make a safety decision.”
Greenup County Schools Superintendent Traysea Moresea said that the district will begin with NTI and a Virtual Academy Instruction on September 8. The district hopes to be permitted to bring students who wish to take in-person classes back on September 28.
“We will respect his request that was given to us,” said Moresea. “I will be honest that we have prepared for many options, but the date of September 28 was never in the realm of possibilities. Our team is working tirelessly to redo the entire action plan and calendar.”
Carter County Schools announced they will also be following the recommendations from the governor.
Additional information from each school district can be found online on the district’s website, as well as Facebook. Technology request portals are available on each of the Ashland Independent Schools social media pages.