FCPS Superintendent Manny Caulk talks education & COVID-19 at Lexington Forum

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 11:59 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – As frustration over virtual learning grows among some parents of Fayette County students, many are asking questions of school leaders.

On Thursday morning, Superintendent Manny Caulk and other school officials participated in the Lexington Forum to address the issues.

“This is not ideal,” admitted Superintendent Caulk, adding, “We have to do something that is less than ideal in order to maintain the safety, the health, safety, and welfare of our children.”

Superintendent Caulk was discussing the decision to switch to NTI at the end of last school year, but the same can be said for the school district’s decision to start with virtual classes this year.

“We did a survey – a survey of families, and a survey or all employees. That data came back. Families wanted to start with a hybrid approach for students to have some in-person instruction and have that rotate on a rotational basis,” explained Superintendent Caulk.

Caulk said the school system may have started virtually, but is looking at this year in phases, about every four to six weeks.

“And in those 4-6-week intervals we’ll revisit that decision to see if we need to open, or if we can educate more students, or if we need to take a step back,” says Caulk.

Caulk spoke on a Zoom call with the Lexington Forum about how that decision came about and said it all came down to guidance from the health departments and how the virus was spreading in Lexington.

“We have to pivot based on the scientific data and evidence that’s before us, based on what’s the community spread right here in Fayette County.”

“I would say this,” concluded Superintendent Caulk, “I would rather have a loss of learning than the loss of life.”

Caulk also addressed some issues families are having with technology, saying it’s a test of the systems they have in place. The school system is hoping to get more efficient at sending out repaired Chromebooks, and expect to have 500 more hot spots ready to distribute after Labor Day.

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