As JCPS returns to in-person learning, some parents fearful omicron is still too prominent

For the first time in 17 days, Jefferson County Public Schools returned to in-person instruction.
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 7:12 PM EST

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For the first time in 17 days, Jefferson County Public Schools returned to in-person instruction.

Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio told reporters Monday the district had enough teachers and staff come off the quarantine list to make the shift back from virtual learning.

“17 days without having students in person had a positive impact on those numbers, and we felt talking to our principals and assistant superintendents that we could return today,” Pollio said.

For many parents throughout the district, Monday’s news was a welcome announcement. Several parents were forced to juggle their own work schedules with their children’s education.

“We’re very excited to have them back. We’re very happy to have them back at their school,” Jess Metzmeier said.

“The kids have been very less than thrilled about having to do NTI again too,” Elizabeth Coleman said.

However, for parents like Cassandra Ryan, Monday morning was upsetting.

“I prayed and I sent them on their way, but I am not happy,” Ryan said.

Ryan has four children, two currently enrolled in JCPS schools.

She did not want to send her boys to school Monday for fear of exposing her children to the omicron variant of COVID-19, especially after her household had a five-week bout with the Delta variant.

“All my children have allergies and mild asthma and my immune system is a little compromised,” Ryan said. “And I take it very seriously. Once you get it in your house, it’s very hard to get out and I really, really bothers me to drop my child off at school.”

Ryan said Kentucky’s positivity rate and hospitalization rate are too high for her comfort.

As of Monday night, Kentucky’s positivity rate is 32.1 percent.

She knows some parents have to send their kids to school, but wishes there were more options for parents like her, who are fortunate enough to stay home and supervise NTI.

“I would want the option of, like they did last year, where some teachers, like my son’s teachers, decided to continue teaching NTI and then some teachers decided to continue teaching at school,” Ryan said. “That’s what I would prefer.”

Parents can still apply for JCPS’ Pathfinder School.

Pollio told reporters Monday he anticipates the omicron variant to continue to spread quickly for another two-three weeks. He said his team will meet every day after school to make the decision whether to use one or both of the district’s remaining two NTI days.

JCPS is scheduled for in-person learning Tuesday.

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