JCS goes back to online only

Published 8:15 am Thursday, November 12, 2020

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Although there have been no confirmed cases of transmission of COVID-19 in a school setting in Jessamine County Schools, Superintendent Matt Moore has decided that, because of the rise in the number of infections in the larger community, students will be returning to virtual learning starting today.

“As a result of the recent surge of positive cases in our community, and with no signs of this increase diminishing soon, I have made the decision to suspend in-person instruction and transition to Extended Digital Learning” effective Thursday, Nov. 12, and continuing through Nov. 24, which is the last day of instruction before Thanksgiving break, Moore said in a message to families published on the school district’s Facebook page Monday.

At this time, he said, his plan is to return to in-person instruction after the break, on Monday, Nov. 30 if it can be done safely. He said he will continue to work with the Jessamine County Health Department to monitor the spread of COVID-19 in the community and will “provide as much notice as possible about any changes to our return date.”

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Jessamine County entered the “red zone,” or critical threshold of 25 or more coronavirus cases per 100,000 population on Oct. 29, but the school district decided to continue in-person learning at that time because the Health Department determined that the schools were not a major factor in the spread of the virus and attributed part of the rise in cases to infections at the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, where 150 residents and employees have been infected and 22 residents have died.

Positive COVID-19 tests involving students and staff of the schools have remained low since in-person learning resumed Sept. 28. 

In his letter, Moore said the Health Department had determined that most of the spread of the potentially deadly virus in the community had occurred within families, small gatherings and “congregate community settings.” That is reflected, he said, in the fact that the schools’ Virtual Learning Academy has only 30 percent of the district’s student enrollment by 67 percent of the active student cases of coronavirus.

“Our district is an integral part of our larger community, and our schools are often a reflection of what is happening within Jessamine County,” Moore wrote. “While the number of positive COVID cases among JCS students and staff has remained relatively low and steady, our county has been designated as a red zone for a number of days, and the positive case rate continues to climb. What happens outside of our schools eventually impacts what happens inside of our schools, and in the last 48 hours, we have seen an uptick in the number of JCS students and staff who have been exposed to positive cases outside of the school environment and who are quarantined. This trend is concerning to both Jessamine County Health Department officials and to me.”

“As a local partner, our district has a responsibility to do our part to respond to the virus and to mitigate its impact on our community,” Moore stated. “Please know that I will always act with safety as the foremost priority. While in-person instruction is optimal, Extended Digital Learning will enable us to continue ensuring that our students receive high-quality instruction, keeping students and staff safe during this surge in cases. I hope that you understand that striking a balance among these commitments is a complex task and I ask for your understanding, cooperation, and support as we make adjustments to serve our students to the best of our ability. I also ask for your support with adhering to safety guidelines that are designed to contain the spread of COVID-19, which will help enable our students to return to in-person instruction as soon as possible.”

Moore’s message mentioned that all JCS Food Service meal packages distributed Thursday and Friday would include food for five days.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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