The first three days of instruction (Aug. 24-26) will be virtual for all students, and a second phase (Aug. 27-Sept. 3) will see half of the schools’ in-person students come in on alternating days. Roughly 49% of PPS students will be coming to school in-person, meaning these days the schools will be around 25% attendance. A third phase when all students opting for in-person instruction will attend school starts Sept. 4.
A video of Monday’s board meeting, along with Shively’s presentation, is available on Facebook and via www.paducah.kyschools.us
. More information about the reopening can be learned by emailing [email protected]
Locally, there have been 406 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in McCracken County, with 107 active cases as of Tuesday afternoon. Shively cites a 4% positivity rate in local testing, as well as a declining local R0 (pronounced r-naught) — a figure used in disease study that indicates how contagious a disease is.
“We’ve got to phase in before we get everybody there, and honestly it’s an opportunity for us to continue to chart our local and state data to ensure that it’s safe to go to school in Paducah Public Schools,” the superintendent said.
Shively has been focused on preserving “parent choice” through all of this: “Everybody looks at this situation differently and that’s the way it should be.”
Fewer students physically in the classroom will enable a better implementation of social distancing, he said. Internal PPS data contributed by the superintendent shows that 92% of classes will have fewer than 19 students and 42% will have fewer than 10.
Guidelines set out by the state health department, the Kentucky Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control have helped shape Shively’s plan and the superintendent feels good about the path they’ve chosen.
“It’s not just the plan that gives me confidence,” Shively added, “it’s our ability to execute the plan here in our schools with our children. We’re doing these small increases so that we can practice these procedures and ensure that kids not only learn but they learn how to navigate a school day safely to preserve not only their health, but the health of their friends and our staff.”
The superintendent hopes that the plan will enable the district to stay light on its feet, adjusting teaching strategies and classrooms to better follow social distancing guidelines. With this in mind, Shively acknowledged that it could change.
“It’s unpredictable what’s going to happen locally and statewide. I think that all depends on how well we go about, not only this community but the state, our daily lives,” he said. “If things change within the community or the state relative to the disease and there’s an increase, we have to be willing to make adjustments and go back down.
“We all know that’s a possibility.”