JCPS to decide whether to reopen classrooms by Monday afternoon, superintendent says

Kentucky’s largest school district will continue to monitor expected absences throughout the weekend and into Monday before deciding whether to reopen classroom
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 3:55 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky’s largest school district will continue to monitor expected absences throughout the weekend and into Monday before deciding whether to reopen classrooms and return to in-person instruction, leaving some parents frustrated by the last-minute decision making.

Jefferson County Public Schools students have spent the last four days learning virtually; the district decided to move to NTI this past Sunday because there were more than 1,100 faculty members out sick or quarantined.

However, Kentucky school districts are allotted just 10 NTI days a year because of a state law.

“We only have six more days so we have to use them wisely,” JCPS superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said.

Pollio told reporters Friday he’s hopeful students can return in person Tuesday, but he doesn’t want to give people “false hope.”

The plan to make a last-minute decision has some JCPS parents frustrated.

“For all the other parents (who can’t stay home), I feel really bad for them that at the very last minute they would have to figure out childcare and their own work situations and things like that,” Kristi Fields, whose son is a sophomore in JCPS said. “I feel like they need to make a decision one way or another this weekend to give parents time to make arrangements.”

Pollio said he understands the frustration, and the district would love to alert families of the plan far in advance, but, “this is a fluid situation,” he said.

“We’ll have people testing over the weekends, we’ll have people coming off quarantines, so it’s very difficult to know how many absences we will have, and especially we have our central office staff covering classes where as needed so we have to know from them how many we’ll have to be able to send out to there as well,” Pollio said.

JCPS leaders described this past week’s transition to virtual learning as “seamless” and added attendance appeared to be the best throughout NTI.

However, Fields told WAVE 3 News her son had a different experience.

“He says half of the students in most of his classes are not attending, and the teachers, in his experience this week, are not teaching new content,” Fields said.

Both Fields and Pollio have the same goal.

“Our goal here is to get students back in person as quickly as possible, but we also have to make sure we do it safely and we can provide great instruction while we’re doing that, and it’s very difficult for schools to do that when they have 15 or 20 uncovered absences in a school,” Pollio said.

Senate Bill 25 was signed into law by Governor Andy Beshear Friday, which gives districts 10 additional remote learning days. However, remote learning days do not apply to the entire district; they can only be used on select schools.

“Remote days are a little challenging for a district our size, but we will obviously bring that into play as well once they become legal,” Pollio said.

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