LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With Jefferson County Public Schools expected to start the fall semester with non-traditional instruction, District 17 Metro Council member Markus Winkler is asking the school board to reconsider.
“The challenge that’s before us as a community goes beyond just JCPS,” he said. “It really impacts every citizen of Louisville,” he said.
On Tuesday, the JCPS board is expected to vote in favor of NTI for at least six weeks at Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio’s recommendation.
If the board votes against in-person learning, Winkler said the school system “will have missed an opportunity to mobilize the full resources of the community to collectively solve this problem.”
In a news release, Winkler expressed concern that without in-person learning, students will be lost, disconnected and be at risk of reaching their full potential:
“Reopening schools for in-person learning is critical to the health, safety, and prosperity of Louisville. Pediatricians and psychologists tell us it’s critical for healthy development. Student outcomes are better, children who are occupied typically get into less trouble, and parents who work require the supervision that schools provide.”
Winkler also claimed a lack of in-person learning would dramatically impact Louisville’s economic reopening.
“So what I’m proposing is that the community collectively work together on this problem and find an all-of-the-above solution,” he said.
Winkler said he believes that solution will come from closing the gaps between health department requirements and JCPS capabilities.
Winkler outlined the following recommendations for in-person learning:
• An inventory of all available indoor space across Jefferson County to serve as ancillary sites for JCPS. Utilize libraries, community centers, the YUM! Center, the Convention Center, the fairgrounds, available office space, empty retail space, etc, to provide the footprint necessary to adequately distance students.
• Identifying how TARC resources can be utilized to solve the transportation issues.
• Outfitting remote classrooms with closed-circuit video, enabling us to appropriately distance students without the need to hire significantly more teachers (remote classrooms could require classroom monitors, not certified teachers).
• Special accommodations for students, teachers, and staff with increased health concerns that limit their risk of infection (e.g. the teacher instructs remotely rather than the student learns remotely).
Winkler told WAVE 3 News that Metro Government could create the proposed in-person remote learning centers if JCPS chooses not to.
In the news release, he said, “I will be asking the mayor to develop a plan to make all necessary Metro government facilities available. We must have secure spaces with internet connectivity that allow our students to learn, parents to work, and businesses to thrive.”