By: Lisa Bicknell
Estill County Superintendent Jeffrey Saylor announced his decision during Thursday night’s board meeting to resume in school classes on January 4, barring a new executive order from Governor Andy Beshear or adamant protest from the board of education.
Saylor said that students are struggling, many are hurting, and their parents are having a hard time. “Our employees have been paid since March,” Saylor said, noting that parents have not as they have struggled to teach, something they didn’t “sign up for.”
He also said he thinks some students will be safer at school than not, because many of them are hanging out together and not following guidelines.
“Remote instruction is not working,” added Saylor. He said that assignments are not getting turned in, students are not understanding, and the social and emotional impact on students has been dramatic.
Parents still have the option to continue virtual learning if they do not want to send their students.
For those who do, resuming in person classes will mean meeting in person only two days a week on a hybrid schedule. According to an in-district poll, 40 percent of parents said they will not send students. With only half of 60 percent of students in the building on any given day, considering the rotating schedule, there would only be about a 30 percent “load” of total enrolled students at school.
Board member Jenny Jo Niece asked why could in-person classes not resume on Jan. 11, as the governor has recommended, but Saylor said they he thinks that would be starting “the year off on the wrong foot.”
“What happens if they then say we should not go back until the 19th?”
Saylor also reported that only 48 percent of teachers and staff who responded to a poll about taking the vaccine have said they will take it.
Board member Sheila Samples asked if teachers don’t take the vaccine but get the coronavirus, will they have to use their own sick leave. Saylor said they would have to.
He also said that basketball practice would begin on Monday, as well as cheerleading practice.
“We are going to participate in sports,” Saylor said.