LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As the new school year approaches, parents, staff, and students in Jefferson County Public Schools want to know if they will start the year in-person or with non-traditional instruction (NTI). Jefferson County Board of Education members will make the decision with a vote Tuesday night.
District 1 board member Diane Porter would not tell WAVE 3 News how she plans to vote Tuesday, but said her decision will be based on the safety of everyone in the district, especially with the number of coronavirus cases increasing across the country.
“What we don’t want is to give anyone the virus that they would take home to a family, perhaps grandparents, a grandmother, a grandfather,” Porter said. “We are trying to keep everyone safe and healthy.”
Porter added that she wants to makes sure the district meets the needs of all students, including those with special needs and the homeless population, especially when it comes to providing them with the necessary technology. She also said she wants to make sure the district thinks about how to deal with the social and emotional needs of students.
District 7 board member Chris Brady said he plans to vote to start the new school year off with NTI.
"My greatest fear is that we would lose not just last year but this year as well to this virus," Brady said.
He said NTI is not the ideal solution, but without a COVID-19 vaccine, he believes it’s what is best for everyone.
“NTI is a poor substitute for in-person training,” Brady said. “It’s really meant as a tool to supplement in-person training, not really meant to be the primary delivery of instruction. But it’s the best bad option we have right now and the best way we can keep our kids safe.”
When schools closed in the spring due to COVID-19, many families and students struggled to stay connected because of a lack of technology. That’s a problem something board members want to make sure changes this fall.
"We have to make sure we are meeting the needs of all of our students somehow," Porter said.
District 3 board member James Craig posting his thoughts on Twitter Tuesday saying he doesn’t feel there’s a way to safely open schools in August.