Whitley County School District officials are still contemplating when the best time will be to resume in-person classes for students, and that answer will likely be later rather than sooner, according to a message the school district sent out Thursday afternoon.
Superintendent John Siler sent a message to students, staff and parents Thursday afternoon, which was shared on the school district’s social media platforms.
“We have received several calls asking what next school year is going to be like and when kids will be going back to school. Right now, there are many unknowns but we want to share with you what we do know in an effort to keep you informed and help you make plans for your summer. The school district will rely on health officials and the Kentucky Department of Education to help determine the safest way to bring students back to school,” Siler wrote.
“Their guidance will strongly influence our plans for how students will return to our classrooms. We will be meeting with local health officials in the coming days to look at different scenarios as we wait for further information from state officials.”
The Kentucky Department of Education has asked all school districts to consider three different starting times for the upcoming school year.
The first is an early start date of July 20. The second is a start date more consistent with the normal start date for the district, which is Aug. 12, and the third is a late start date of Sept. 8.
Siler noted that the district considers the July 20 start date as not feasible for the district.
The Whitley County School District is doing a complete $890,000 upgrade of the Heating Air-Conditioning and Ventilation (HVAC) system at Whitley County Middle School this summer, and recently took action to purchase the units directly rather than have the contractor do it in order to ensure the project could be completed before the regular projected start date for the district.
Last Thursday, the school district also announced plans to expand its one-on-one Chromebook initiative, which already includes grades 7-12, down all the way to the fourth grade.
The project includes the purchase of 2,400 new Chromebooks at a price tag of $530,900, which will take district technology officials a significant amount of time to set up before the Chromebooks will be ready for students to use.
The Aug. 12 or Sept. 8 start dates are a more likely scenario for the district to resume classes, Siler noted.
“We will continue to monitor and consider the information that is being provided to all school districts in Kentucky and will work to formulate a plan that will allow us to provide the best instruction and opportunities for our students while also keeping them safe and healthy. As more information becomes available to us, we will provide you with more information about what the 2020-2021 school year will look like for students in the Whitley County School District,” Siler added.