After hours of discussions, the Jefferson County Board of Education voted Thursday evening to approve reopening schools.The vote was four in favor and three against the plan for the state’s largest school district. Schools are now set to reopen next month, a year after they shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.The decision to get children back in the classroom comes after months of questions about when Jefferson County Public Schools would reopen school buildings. It also came on the same day Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio unveiled his highly anticipated reopening dates for schools within the district.WATCH BACK: JCPS ‘State of the District’ addressOver the past few days, JCPS school officials have received a renewed push to get schools back open in Jefferson County with more weight coming from Gov. Andy Beshear and state lawmakers. Beshear, earlier in the week, signed an executive order encouraging all school districts to resume in-person instruction by March.State lawmakers left the school district little choice to make a decision this week with House Bill 208 moving through the General Assembly. The legislation would require schools to either return to in-person instruction or offer a hybrid model by the end of March, or else they would lose funding.Over the past few months, JCPS has been among the remaining school districts in the state to remain in virtual learning while others have transitioned back to face-to-face instruction or are using hybrid models.During Thursday evening’s vote, some of the board members lamented that they were being forced to reopen schools while COVID-19 transmission rates remain high in Jefferson County. Some argued that Frankfort lawmakers haven’t done much to help JCPS except force them to figure out a plan to reopen schools.Still, the board was faced with either approving the plan Thursday night or eventually having to approve a plan if House Bill 208 became law.With the plan now given the green light, parents and students have a clearer picture of when face-to-face instruction will begin at JCPS.Earlier Thursday, here’s how Pollio envisioned schools reopening: Kindergarten through second-grade students to return to in-person learning on March 17.Third through fifth grade would reopen on March 18.The Early Childhood program would return on March 22,Middle and high school students would begin on April 5.Pollio’s plan recommended a hybrid plan for middle and high school students. They would go to school two days a week, learn remotely two days a week and Wednesday would be a remote learning day for all students. Students would be in two groups based on their last names. Students whose last names start with A-K would go to school in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays, and students whose last name begins with L-Z would go to school on Thursdays and Fridays. During Thursday evening’s vote, the school board approved an amendment to Pollio’s plan that also places elementary students on the hybrid model. Here are the reopening dates under the approved plan with the hybrid model for all schools:March 17: Grades K-2March 18: Grades 3-5March 22: Early childhoodApril 5: Middle and high schoolStudents of all grades can elect to continue with virtual instruction. They will have online classes five days a week as they do now with a similar amount of live and recorded instruction as they have in place currently. Pollio’s plan also calls for teachers to have workdays to set up their classrooms before students are welcomed back into the building. Pollio also said he will soon unveil plans for summer camps to help students catch up in reading and math if they struggled during NTI.Circling back on the concerns from the school board, several members spoke out about equity issues while trying to quickly get schools back open. Some of the members argued that the plan doesn’t go far enough in helping underperforming areas, especially with unanswered questions about preparations and mitigation measures.Diane Porter, chair of the board of education, expressed her concerns that there aren’t enough custodians and supplies to maintain adequate cleaning measures amid the ongoing pandemic. She and other members were also concerned about school bus measures and that students wouldn’t be able to monitored as closely.Porter, during a news conference later Thursday evening, said that while she voted against reopening schools, the goal now is to follow the will of the board and safely as possible gets students back into schools.Watch the full “State of the District” address below:

After hours of discussions, the Jefferson County Board of Education voted Thursday evening to approve reopening schools.

The vote was four in favor and three against the plan for the state’s largest school district. Schools are now set to reopen next month, a year after they shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The decision to get children back in the classroom comes after months of questions about when Jefferson County Public Schools would reopen school buildings. It also came on the same day Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio unveiled his highly anticipated reopening dates for schools within the district.

WATCH BACK: JCPS ‘State of the District’ address

Over the past few days, JCPS school officials have received a renewed push to get schools back open in Jefferson County with more weight coming from Gov. Andy Beshear and state lawmakers. Beshear, earlier in the week, signed an executive order encouraging all school districts to resume in-person instruction by March.

State lawmakers left the school district little choice to make a decision this week with House Bill 208 moving through the General Assembly. The legislation would require schools to either return to in-person instruction or offer a hybrid model by the end of March, or else they would lose funding.

Over the past few months, JCPS has been among the remaining school districts in the state to remain in virtual learning while others have transitioned back to face-to-face instruction or are using hybrid models.

During Thursday evening’s vote, some of the board members lamented that they were being forced to reopen schools while COVID-19 transmission rates remain high in Jefferson County. Some argued that Frankfort lawmakers haven’t done much to help JCPS except force them to figure out a plan to reopen schools.

Still, the board was faced with either approving the plan Thursday night or eventually having to approve a plan if House Bill 208 became law.

With the plan now given the green light, parents and students have a clearer picture of when face-to-face instruction will begin at JCPS.

Earlier Thursday, here’s how Pollio envisioned schools reopening:

  • Kindergarten through second-grade students to return to in-person learning on March 17.
  • Third through fifth grade would reopen on March 18.
  • The Early Childhood program would return on March 22,
  • Middle and high school students would begin on April 5.

Pollio’s plan recommended a hybrid plan for middle and high school students. They would go to school two days a week, learn remotely two days a week and Wednesday would be a remote learning day for all students.

Students would be in two groups based on their last names. Students whose last names start with A-K would go to school in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays, and students whose last name begins with L-Z would go to school on Thursdays and Fridays.

During Thursday evening’s vote, the school board approved an amendment to Pollio’s plan that also places elementary students on the hybrid model. Here are the reopening dates under the approved plan with the hybrid model for all schools:

  • March 17: Grades K-2
  • March 18: Grades 3-5
  • March 22: Early childhood
  • April 5: Middle and high school

Students of all grades can elect to continue with virtual instruction. They will have online classes five days a week as they do now with a similar amount of live and recorded instruction as they have in place currently.

Pollio’s plan also calls for teachers to have workdays to set up their classrooms before students are welcomed back into the building.

Pollio also said he will soon unveil plans for summer camps to help students catch up in reading and math if they struggled during NTI.

Circling back on the concerns from the school board, several members spoke out about equity issues while trying to quickly get schools back open. Some of the members argued that the plan doesn’t go far enough in helping underperforming areas, especially with unanswered questions about preparations and mitigation measures.

Diane Porter, chair of the board of education, expressed her concerns that there aren’t enough custodians and supplies to maintain adequate cleaning measures amid the ongoing pandemic. She and other members were also concerned about school bus measures and that students wouldn’t be able to monitored as closely.

Porter, during a news conference later Thursday evening, said that while she voted against reopening schools, the goal now is to follow the will of the board and safely as possible gets students back into schools.

Watch the full “State of the District” address below:

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