Hardin County Schools Board of Education held a special board meeting Wednesday to discuss potential changes to the school’s calendar.
Ultimately, the board voted 4-1 to continue as planned with in-person and online schooling beginning Aug. 24.
On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said he recommends schools begin with in-person instruction Sept. 28.
Six people came to the school board meeting to express their concerns and comments, along with teachers and parents.
Carla Breeding, a former director of benefits for HCS and former West Point Independent Schools principal, expressed her concerns with employees having to come back to school buildings and be in contact with several students.
“There is no acceptable percentage of death or severe illness if it can be avoided,” Breeding said.
Breeding said she has known two people personally who have died of COVID-19, and said employees should be given consideration and options for their own safety.
Mollie Thompson, a mother of HCS students, said she wanted to continue with the current plan of returning to school Aug. 24.
Thompson said she was worried the retention and “zest for learning” would be affected if her children were to start the school year with online learning.
“My kids need their teachers,” Thompson said.
She also expressed her concerns with other students’ mental health and physical safety.
Michelle Richardson, fifth grade teacher at G.C. Burkhead Elementary School, said she had concerns with having to consistently distance classroom and students throughout each school day.
Richardson asked the board to give the full online learning for students a shot to see how it pans out until Sept. 28.
After community members spoke, Superintendent Teresa Morgan said a great deal of responsibility will be placed on school staffs.
In discussing information to the board, Morgan said 7 out of the 19 schools in the district said they did not feel confident about school opening for in-person classes based on feedback administration collected.
As of Aug. 12, Morgan said 3,104 students have chosen to be in the Online Learning Academy for the fall. She said this number cannot be increased by much otherwise teachers will have to be pulled.
Substitute teachers were a subject touched on by a few instructors who said the number available might not be enough to sustain the district.
At the moment, Morgan said 70 substitute teachers will be available to work by Aug. 24, and there are 23 unfilled positions in the district.
Currently, she said they are hiring more positions to assist classes as much as possible, and said she did have concerns about possibly asking for too much from teachers and staff once school begins.