Ky. educators weigh pros and cons of returning to in-person learning next semester

Published: Dec. 9, 2020 at 3:50 PM EST
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KENTUCKY (WKYT) - School districts are debating if students should return in person next semester. With COVID-19 cases rising, school leaders say it’s a tough call.

The pandemic has made a big impact on Kentucky’s education system.

Frequent tech problems and shortened instruction have many eager to get back to the classroom. But will it be safe to do so come January?

The Prichard Committee, a local nonprofit focused on improving educational outcomes, is weighing the pros and cons.

“Remote learning has left everyone feeling really challenged,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, President & CEO, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. “With the positivity rate as high as it is right now in Kentucky, 15% and more in some areas of the state, I think our health has to be the first priority.”

We spoke to a teacher who feels the same way.

“If our numbers are back to where we want them to be in person, I think that’s definitely what we all want,” said Susan Cintra, President of the Madison Co. Education Association. “We just want to keep our kids safe and our community safe.”

During an interview with WKYT, Governor Andy Beshear talked about the possibility of schools going back in person even in red counties. But he said his administration would find ways to protect staff. He explained teachers will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think the majority of us are ready to do what it takes to get back into the classroom,” Cintra said. “That may not be everybody, but I do think that we’re looking at taking the vaccine. We’re trusting our medical professionals.”

The governor has mentioned implementing a hybrid model for next semester, with some students returning in person and others remaining online. Members of the Prichard Committee say they support that idea.

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