Dr. Shively reviewed data that showed a decline in COVID-19 rates of infection in the county, including the latest incidence rate map for Kentucky (where the county is no longer in the “red” for average daily cases per 100,000) and the combined percentage of positive COVID-19 tests for Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital and Baptist Health Paducah.
He reviewed surveys the district had done with parents and faculty/staff which asked about their willingness to have students return to a four day in-person week.
In faculty/staff survey, 63.1% said “yes” to having students return to a four-day week for in-person students.
“For those that said ‘no’, I do not see this as our employees saying they don’t want children at school,” Shively noted. “I think there’s a risk factor that people are thinking through with regard to themselves.”
The parent survey showed that 81% of parents said “yes” to having students return to a four-day week for in-person students.
Shively also shared the results of the employee vaccination effort with the board, noting that 61.1% of PPS faculty and staff had been fully vaccinated.
In his remarks, Board Chairman Dr. Carl LeBuhn reflected on the COVID-19 data, and said he’s encouraged by the percentage of employees who have been vaccinated. He acknowledged fears, noting a lot of people have been affected by COVID-19, and he thinks those fears are “real and justified.”
“I totally recognize the fear,” LeBuhn said.
“There’s nothing that we can do, I don’t think, to completely mitigate risk or completely mitigate that fear. I think it’s very important that we have a mechanism to listen to people’s concerns moving forward and we just try and exhaust every possibility we can to correct that issue, or to fix that problem, or to make that as safe as possible.”
The board also elected to change the school calendar, making Friday, March 12 and Friday April 2 instructional days. This will make May 19 the last day of school for students.
For complete coverage, you can see WPSD's story here.
You can see the Paducah Sun's coverage here.
You can see a livestream of the board meeting and review of the survey data here