JCPS evaluating options for restarting school in August

JCPS evaluating options for restarting school in August

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On August 25, Jefferson County Public Schools will begin the 2020-2021 school year. How schools will look when the doors open that Tuesday, if at all, is still up in the air.

JCPS Chief Academic Officer Dr. Carmen Coleman told WAVE 3 News the district’s Pandemic Response Team is still evaluating its options after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the district to close schools to in-person learning in the spring.

“It has helped us to know, ‘Alright, we have three options,‘” Coleman said. “So I have teams that are working on each option and they are just focused on making that option the best it can be.”

Those three plans include traditional in-school instruction, a virtual academy option, and a return to non-tradition instruction.

Coleman says if schools reopen to in-person learning, parents can choose not to send their child back and can instead enroll them in a virtual academy, a more structured form of online learning, allowing teachers and students to communicate frequently throughout the day.

The district is also deciding between two vendors, K12 and Florida Virtual Schools, to run the program, though JCPS teachers will be the individuals teaching the lessons and communicating with students.

“It’s going to be more like a permanent placement for a school year for a student,” Coleman said. “Virtual school will have its own platform, so to speak.”

If schools do not open to in-person learning, then NTI will once again become the method of instruction. JCPS transitioned to NTI for the last several weeks of the 2019-2020 school year.

Coleman said the district will make improvements to the curriculum in an effort to give teachers and students more interaction time. She said the district is also working on an NTI-to-go kit, which will provide students with extra materials and lessons to keep them on track. The NTI Support Portal will also remain in effect as a place where parents can access materials online.

“One of the things we want to be sure of is students are contacted every day, that they have opportunities for live interaction with teachers and classmates every day,” Coleman said.

Coleman said her team still has specifics to solidify and knows the district’s plans may change quickly. With that said, she wants everyone to know health and safety are of the most importance.

“We cannot put students or adults in a situation that is not safe,” Coleman said. “And so, if we determine in the next several weeks that we simply cannot safely, we don’t feel like we can put kids and adults in-person together as usual in schools, then certainly we’ll make a decision at that point.”

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