Planning underway for new school year

A printable PDF of the letter may be found below.

Planning for the 2020-21 school year is getting underway to allow families to get ready for back-to-school in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information will be collected from families beginning next week with more formal plans being put together through the first two weeks of July.

Final plans will then be determined utilizing available information and recommendations to allow families and the community to prepare for Lewis County students’ return to the classroom.

Superintendent Jamie Weddington has released a letter to families detailing the plans from the school district.

Here is the letter (See below for printable PDF):

 

June 26, 2020

Dear Lewis County Schools Families,

On June 25, we finally officially closed the book on the 2019-2020 school year as the first school district in the state to offer and hold an in-person graduation ceremony option. The graduates of the class of 2020 have all modeled qualities that our county repeatedly does—patience, compassion, dedication, hard work, and most of all PRIDE.

Thank you to all our staff members and families across all grades, preschool through twelve, for your patience and perseverance over the last three months as we transitioned from in-school instruction to at home non-traditional instruction. We know it was sometimes difficult and stressful but everyone worked to do what was best for their students. We were able to ensure that all students had access to meals on a regular basis. The school food service staff, transportation staff, and countless other volunteers were able to deliver over 250,000 meals to the students of Lewis County.

We have been discussing preliminary plans for the 2020-2021 school year and trying to create an option that will address as many issues as possible. With the frequently changing guidelines this has been a daunting and frustrating task. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) presented a guide for returning to school in the fall on Wednesday, June 24. We have been comparing those guidelines with options that we have been considering.

At one time, the state discussed potentially starting school in July and we quickly determined that this would not be in the best interest for our school system. At the earliest, school will begin on August 12 with other potential start dates as late as September 8th. The later start dates would allow more time to adjust to any additional changes to the Covid-19 guidance and allow our staff several more days to prepare for student arrival under the new guidelines. The later start date would also give us flexibility under state law to meet the 1,062 hours of student instruction and waives the 170-day requirement. Based upon the current KDE and CDC guidance with social distancing requirements, the way our students will be educated this school year will look different.

The safety of our students and staff will be key in every decision that is made as well as how these decisions impact families as a whole. These decisions will not be easy. These decisions will not be 100% agreed upon by everyone. Parents will have to make the best decision for their children based on all the information at that time.

Here is a basic timeline for planning and preparation for the next school year.

• Present- Central Office staff and school level administration are reviewing current KDE guidance documents for all levels. Staff will begin creating a more formal, detailed plan.
• July 3-6 Parents and Staff will have the opportunity to complete an online survey and provide input for planning purposes.
• July 8-9 Preliminary plan to be reviewed by local health department and school nurses.
• July 10-12 Preliminary plan posted for review and input on district website.
• July 13 Meet with surrounding district Superintendents to share/compare plans and gather ideas
• July 13 Review documents with Board of Education and solicit their input.
• July 13 Finalize a start date for next school year and determine what additional planning and steps are needed.

Some things you should begin to consider in preparing for next year.
NOTE: These items are not all set in stone as being a part of what the school year will be. They are possible things you may have to prepare for based on the current guidance.
• What are my options for child care if we do not have in-person school every day?
• Is an online platform a viable alternative for my children?
• What type of mask would my child be comfortable in if they have to wear one when social distancing cannot be achieved? How many do I need?
• Do I want to transport my child to school every day to reduce the number of possible contacts?
• What items will I need to purchase more of than normal for a return to school? Small bottles of hand sanitizer, hand wipes, individual set of supplies instead of shared boxes in the classroom
• How am I going to easily check my child’s temperature every morning before they go to the bus stop?
• Who do I have as a reliable pickup person in the event that my child gets sick and I am unavailable?

I understand that some other school districts across the state have already put out plans and guidelines for what the return to school will look like for their students and I know that everyone is anxious about what the next school year holds for all of us. Trust me, everyone across the country who has school age children feels this same anxiousness. Our goal is to create the best plan we can to meet as many needs as possible for as many students and families as possible. The best plan will be created based on the most current and accurate information at the time closest to the normal start of school. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home if you are sick.

Respectfully with Lion Pride,

Superintendent Jamie Weddington
Lewis County Schools

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Click HERE for a printable PDF of the letter.

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