LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Jefferson County Board of Education unanimously voted to start the 2020-21 school year with non-traditional instruction.
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio presented his recommendation to start the year off with six weeks of remote learning, and then after that period, re-evaluate to see if it’s safe for students and staff to return to school.
“What we have found more than anything with this COVID-19 crisis is things change very quickly,” Pollio said Tuesday.
With cases of COVID-19 on the rise in Kentucky, Pollio said he believes it’s the best option right now to keep teachers, students and the community safe and healthy.
The district came up with a plan called NTI 2.0. Pollio said it would be better than the program the district used in the spring. The district plans to have more live and recorded instruction and more frequent communication. Pollio also said the district plans to ensure all students have a Chromebook in order to stay connected. The district had out 20,000 Chromebooks in the spring and has since ordered 30,000 more for students who need one. The district also has more than 10,000 hotspots that will be able for students who don’t have the internet at home.
When school buildings reopen, the district will provide a full-time, online virtual class option for those families who don’t want to return to in-person classes.
Some parents told WAVE 3 News they are relieved they and the district have a little extra time to sort everything out.
“It gives us a little more time, I think, to look at what’s working with other school districts and what’s not and take notes; see how their numbers respond to having everyone in those close quarters,” Rebecca Yocum, a mother of four, said.
Yocum said her daughter, who will go into 1st grade this fall, finished the year out with NTI last year, but it wasn’t easy. She said she found the best way to handle it was to keep a schedule.
"If we tried to wing it, things got thrown to the end of the day [and] things didn't get done," Yocum said.
She said she isn't sure when she'll feel comfortable sending her kids to school in-person, and plans to take it one day at a time.
“Things that went into my decision were are they going to miss music class and having the instruments? Are they going to miss PE or lunch with their friends?” Yocum said. “And I think until we know what those situations looks like going forward, it’s hard to say when we’ll feel comfortable sending them back.”
Misty Golde said she isn’t sure what will make her feel comfortable sending her son, who will start kindergarten, to school. She, too, was hopeful for NTI so she and her son could continue to see her parents safely. As a single mom, she understands the struggle of balancing work and NTI with her son, but she’s grateful her support system will be around to help.
"My mom immediately we get on the phone and she's like hey I'll come over to the house, we'll set up a table for him. We'll make sure we try to mimic the school environment as much as we can," Golde said.
The academic portion of starting with NTI doesn't bother her, it's the social aspect.
"I know he's not going to fall behind academically but I need to make sure he's getting what he needs socially, emotionally as well," Golde said. "Because that's also part of the school environment; it's not just that educational component."
To read the JCPS full plan for the 2020-21 school year, click or tap here.