LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Students and teachers in Jefferson County Public Schools returned to the classroom Friday for the first time since Tuesday.
The teacher sickout caused the district to close school three times in just over a week.
“Every day counts” was the message Friday afternoon at a surprise pop-up party for students at Western High School.
Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio was there to congratulate them, asking the crowd of excited students, “Who’s happy to be back in school!?”
Western High has made the greatest improvement in attendance since the district wide initiative began in January.
“I am really proud to say that this point, this year we are 2% higher in attendance than we were last year," Principal Michael Newman said.
Over 100,000 JCPS students missed class Wednesday and Thursday due to the teacher sickout. With the legislative session continuing Monday, the district and the Jefferson County Teachers Association have come up with a plan that would allow JCPS teachers to continue a presence in Frankfort while keeping class in session.
“I’ve gotten some positive feedback and obviously, some that I think still want to go to Frankfort outside of that, so you know, we’re going to see what happens with it,” Pollio said.
The plan would put three teachers from each school in Frankfort to protest for each day of the session. Classes will continue with extra subs and central office staff filling in.
Some advocacy groups say it just won’t work.
“It’s probably win-win for them, but it’s not win-win for the rank in file teachers, not for the students and not win-win for the community,” Gay Adelmann with Dear JCPS said.
Adelmann anticipates schools will be forced to close again most of next week.
“Really it’s a decision that will water down the movement,” Adelmann said. “The movement is powerful, the movement is strong, and teachers need and want are these changes in their school system and across the country.”
There isn’t anything in the agreement that prevents teachers from being able to call in sick as they normally would. So, they can choose not to follow the plan.