Parents and students in Hardin County Schools will have two options for the upcoming school year based on guidance issued Sunday night for returning to school.
Hardin County Schools will implement traditional and an online learning academy and which one a student uses will be up to the discretion of families.
Changes also have been made in wellness, instruction, building management and transportation.
John Wright, HCS spokesman, said a group of principals and administrators have been discussing these changes along with the guidance that was provided by the Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Department of Health.
Since there are students and staff members that may be comprised because of COVID-19, Wright said the district wanted to have parents decide for their students if being in a classroom might not be best for their health.
Wright said some areas of instruction and schoolwork will be difficult to facilitate online, including work done at the Early College and Career Center.
“We will we will try our best to make sure that those students are receiving those opportunities ... like we normally do,” Wright said.
This week, teachers will be calling parents and guardians of students to see what their intentions will be with their children between going to school or not. Parents also will have the opportunity to ask questions during these calls.
Wright said this data will be sifted through to determine what the needs will be for each mode of teaching. However, he said the in-person mode of education is what probably is best for students.
“Hopefully, that is the case for most folks, but we totally understand if they feel like they need to use the Online Learning Academy,” he said.
However, Wright said the online academy will be different for this upcoming school year.
The online academy will have daily attendance taken with more accountability on behalf of the student. There also will be stronger and more consistent communication standards between everyone involved.
It also will function differently in terms of instructors. Teachers across the district will teach online classes that contain students from different schools, depending on the needs of students who are taking online classes.
Another aspect of the plan is that students will be required to wear face masks if social distancing cannot be accomplished, including on buses.
“We hope that our students’ parents will help us by asking students to wear masks and abide by the guidance set forth by health officials,” he said.
In terms of finances, Wright said thanks to money from federal sources, extra supplies that are bought for next school year is not taking a toll on the district budget.
Wright said things may change in terms of COVID-19 if things happen to get better or worse.
“When folks get upset or start wondering why we’re doing certain things, just know it’s probably for the health of everyone involved,” Wright said.
The guidance can be found online at sites.google.com/hardin.kyschools.us/return-to-school/home. This site also contains a frequently asked questions page.