Special session expected to focus on NTI days, educational flexibility

Published: Sep. 4, 2021 at 10:51 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - In his news conference Saturday afternoon, Governor Andy Beshear emphasized the importance of flexibility for schools amid the surge in COVID-19 cases. Jessica Fletcher of the Prichard Committee echoed that sentiment.

“We know that children learn best in person,” Fletcher said. “But the current situation really calls for more flexibility so that learning can continue virtually during this Delta variant COVID surge.”

Governor Beshear also wants lawmakers to consider giving individual schools the ability to take NTI days, rather than entire districts. But even then, the decision is still complex.

“When a school is trying to make those decisions, they have to decide do we go ahead and use those days and try to teach virtually, like NTI days, or do we take days off?” Said Allison Slone, a teacher in Rowan County

So the general assembly may also look into allowing more NTI days this year.

“It’s going to be hard to say what that exact magic number is because I think it’s going to continue to change,” said Fletcher.

Fletcher says it’s also important that lawmakers consider allowing retired teachers and other qualified educators onto school staffs.

“There was actually a pretty significant staffing shortage before COVID when it comes to educators in Kentucky,” Fletcher said.

But what’s most critical in Fletcher’s view is making sure schools can keep students safe while also keeping their learning on track.

“We’re seeing changes on a day-to-day basis...and without the flexibility to react to daily occurrences, learning both in person and online will become increasingly difficult,” said Fletcher.

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