Districts look to push school start date

RALEIGH

Hardin County Schools, Elizabethtown Independent Schools and LaRue County Schools are looking to start school near the end of August.

According to a news release, Hardin County Schools Superintendent Teresa Morgan will ask the Hardin County Board of Education to move the start of the 2020-21 school year to Aug. 24 at its next scheduled meeting July 16.

The original start date is Aug. 6 and the potential change will give the district 18 extra days. Morgan said the extra time will provide staff as much time as possible to prepare to offer either traditional or non-traditional instruction, and also allows more time for state officials to give additional direction on the pandemic.

HCS officials are working on a calendar for staff and that will be shared at a later date. The Aug. 24 start date will not eliminate fall break, winter break or spring break from the calendar, according to the release.

In a video posted on the district’s Face­book page last week, LaRue County Schools Superintendent David Raleigh said the district is unofficially, but heavily considering Aug. 24 as the start date.

Raleigh said he agrees with that start date for a few different reasons including giving more time for the COVID-19 pandemic to settle and more time for schools to plan in terms of academics.

He said he’ll be giving more information to the district within the next week.

Jon Ballard, outgoing E’town schools superintendent, announced Wednesday to the district they would be changing the school start date from August 5 to Aug. 25, gaining 20 extra days.

Ballard said while he’s not sure exactly what school will look like once it starts again. He said fall break, winter break and all other breaks will remain the same.

He said moving the school date back, current state laws will be enacted in which the district can go on less instructional days but it also gives the staff four additional work days.

“We’re going to have the whole week before school starts to kind of talk with our staff to plan out exactly ... what school is going to look like,” Ballard said.

The other reason for the date change is to provide the district more time overall because of the changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morgan said in the release guidance from the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Department of Public Health will prepare the district for several scenarios.

“COVID-19 has changed a lot. However, it has not changed our priorities of giving students a safe learning environment and the best education possible,” Morgan said.

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1747 or aharp@thenewsenterprise.com.

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