LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky’s largest school district has unveiled more details of its vaccine rollout plan during Tuesday night’s board meeting, including a potential timeline for returning to in-person instruction.
Educators are included in Kentucky’s next phase of the vaccine rollout, however, it’s not clear yet when it will begin.
“This is the first time we’ve talked about COVID where we truly see a light at the end of the tunnel,” Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said. “We don’t know exactly when that light is right now, but I do believe we see an end, and that we will be coming back to school sooner rather than later.”
Pollio told the school board 12,884 district employees requested the vaccine when surveyed, and 1,900 declined the vaccine. Pollio said those who didn’t respond to the survey will be counted as declining the vaccine. In addition, those who requested it can still change their minds.
The timeline of JCPS’s vaccine rollout will depend on when it receives its first shipment of the Moderna vaccine.
Gov. Beshear has said Phase 1B, including vaccinations for teachers, could start as soon as Feb. 1, give or take a week. Pollio told board members that Jan. 25 would be the ideal date and hopes it “comes to fruition.”
Employees will receive the shot at Jefferson County’s drive-thru vaccination site, Broadbent Arena starting from the lower grade levels up, K-12. Pollio told the board the entire process should take around 45 minutes per staff member.
Once four weeks have passed, JCPS educators will take the second booster shot; the first few teachers could expect to return to class one to two weeks after they receive the final dose, but district officials said this is not set in stone.
Some teachers, like Kristin Logsdon who signed up to take the shot told WAVE 3 News they feel excited about a possible return to in-person instruction but also anxious about the uncertainties.
“This is the first time in my teaching career, truly that I have put my family first, and said, ‘You know, I love my job, I love my career, I love my kids; I love my school, but I have to put my family first,’” Logsdon said.
Pollio said the district will likely return to a hybrid learning model because of the state’s guidelines. Students will still have the option to continue NTI until at least the end of this school year.
“I want to make sure we do everything possible to allow kids to experience the celebratory things that happen in April and May as well as getting back into school,” Pollio said.
In addition, ECE and ESL students could return in small groups before others in their grade for extra support, according to Pollio.
It’s still unclear how the district plans to handle the 1,900 employees who declined to take the vaccine once it becomes available and the staff members who did not respond to the survey. District lawyers told the board it could consider making accommodations in specific cases.