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Harlan Co. School District in-person classes resume after week off

Schools under the Harlan County School District umbrella will resume in-person classes Monday after a week off because of COVID-19.

In compliance with the Mode of Instruction Metric for K-12 Education, created by the Kentucky Department of Education, all schools were closed from Oct. 2-5 after Harlan County slipped into the critical level of COVID-19 positives. Virtual instruction was continued. 

Extra-curricular activities were moved to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Phase III guidelines as a result, which temporarily suspended games and placed restrictions on practices.

The school district reported several employees at various schools who tested positive for the virus before the shutdown occurred, noting deep cleaning and quarantining guidelines were being strictly followed. 

On Monday, all schools in the public district will reopen to in-person instruction, with classes being held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. Students who selected the virtual learning program will continue their progress as virtual students.

The school district reported with the decline in the virus positivity rate, athletics will also resume.

Harlan County Superintendent Brent Roark said safety protocols will be in place and enforced for all attending in-person classes.

Kentucky’s Education Commissioner and Chief Learner Jason E. Glass also met with principals on the Principal Advisory Council (PrAC) during their first-quarter meeting on Thursday.

Glass discussed his plans as the Commonwealth’s new commissioner of education, where he noted his immediate goal will be to support schools in their response to COVID-19 and help them navigate as they manage any outbreaks of the virus. Glass said he also wants to emphasize antiracism and equity in Kentucky’s public schools, according to a press release from the Kentucky Department of Education.

As for his long-term approach, Glass said he wants to include education stakeholders from across the state to help guide strategy on what the future of education should look like in Kentucky.

In keeping with this goal, the department created the Kentucky Education Feedback Survey, which opened Oct. 5 and will close at 11:59 p.m. ET on Nov. 20.

The survey asks what KDE, districts and educators should:

  • KEEP Doing: Things we value, that bring us meaning and pride, the “right” work.
  • STOP Doing: Things that are not of value, that don’t have meaning or purpose, or are antithetical to our values as a Commonwealth.
  • START Doing: Things we should aspire toward, work to put in place, build capacity around.

“Please share this with your staff members, with your communities, with your students,” Glass said. “We really want to gather a broad perspective on how people are thinking about the current state of education in Kentucky, but also thinking ahead to what the future could look like.”