Citing staff COVID cases, Woodford schools return to at-home learning for rest of week

·2 min read
Silas Walker/Lexington Herald-Leader

Woodford County is among at least 10 Kentucky school districts that canceled in-person classes on Wednesday because a high number of staff members tested positive for COVID.

Woodford County Schools, adjacent to Fayette, is also returning to at-home learning for the rest of the week.

“It has become increasingly difficult to adequately staff the school buildings during this surge,” a district message to families said. “Please know that this decision was not made lightly.”

Explaining that the school district would participate in non-traditional instruction through Friday January 21, district officials said “we hope NTI allows staff members to isolate rest and heal. We look forward to being back in person as soon as it is possible to do so.”

In a news conference last week, Fayette Superintendent Demetrus Liggins outlined that district’s new procedures for moving to remote learning as a result of a high number of COVID cases among staff and students.

In a message Tuesday night, Liggins said: “ Our district is prepared -- as we have been since school started in August -- to shift to remote learning should circumstances warrant. Throughout the day, school and district leaders keep a close eye on COVID-19 case data, as well as student and staff absences and the ability to provide staff coverage for safe school operations.”

Liggins said district data shows that it is safe to be in school.

The negative effects of prolonged remote learning on our students, employees, and families have been well- documented, he said.

“While we hope a transition to remote learning would be short-term, we don’t know what the next phase of the virus holds. Each time we’ve seen record-high case numbers they have been eclipsed in the next surge,” he said.

“Although our absences are higher than normal, we have to ask ourselves if the 8 out of 10 students who were in school on Friday received a better experience than they would have in remote learning,” Liggins said.

The case totals for the past week -- Jan. 11 to Jan. 17 -- within Fayette County Public Schools, which has roughly 42,000 students and 8,000 employees was 794 new student cases and 172 new staff cases.

That is a rate of 1.9% for students and 2.2% for staff.

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