LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Following the release of Gov. Beshear’s ‘Healthy at School’ guidance Wednesday, Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky’s largest school district, announced its plan to implement that guidance would come in July.
“There is no easy way to go about this, it will be challenging, it will be the first time ever we have done something like this,” Pollio said.
On Thursday, the superintendent confirmed that face masks would be mandatory for students, but non-compliance won’t result in punishment.
Parents with students in Jefferson County Public Schools tell WAVE 3 News they have several questions following Pollio’s statements. Autumn Neagle, a mom of two, says she still has concerns about sending her kids back to school this fall. Her 5-year-old daughter, who will start kindergarten this fall, has asthma and is considered high risk.
“It is a troubling time for our students, our parents and our teachers as they try to figure out what they’re doing the next couple of months,” she said.
Neagle, who serves on the Kentucky PTA and has been in focus groups with other parents, said most of them have conflicting feelings about the guidance that has been released.
“I have parents that say their kids have got to get back in there [school] for the emotional and the stability and there are some families that are scared, they are just scared to bring their kids back,” Neagle said.
Neagle said some parents are suggesting face shields for younger students so they can still read facial cues.
“It’s really hard to learn your alphabet with your mouth covered,” she said. “I think you’re going to have to start the school year, if you’re in a classroom, with your students and how they’re feeling,”
Thursday, Pollio also promised to secure more Chromebooks for students as well as more WiFi hot spots. He’s also hoping the district can find more opportunities for student and staff interaction.
Neagle agrees that more support is needed for students studying from home, but she worries a possible COVID-19 outbreak means everyone will be working from home again.
“Let’s say you manage to get a classroom with only 10 kids. If one of those kids gets infected with COVID, are you going to send all of those kids into quarantine?” she questioned. “Before you know it, there’s not going to be any kids in school at all.”
Neagle praised Pollio for providing his Thursday update but said she’s still looking forward to additional guidance in July because that is when parents begin to plan for the fall semester.
“Knowing that we’re looking at sooner rather than later will really help,” she said. “Because if we’re not going back to school there are some parents who really have to figure out what they’re doing childcare wise.”