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JCS to return to in-person learning March 15

Jessamine County public school students will be returning to school full-time.

Superintendent Matt Moore announced in a letter to families Friday that in-person classes would begin March 15.

For about a month, JCS students have been in hybrid instruction, alternating between instruction in the classroom two days a week and learning online from home three days a week.

Beginning March 15, kindergarten and elementary school children will be returning to school five days a week, Monday through Friday, and middle and high school students will be in school four days a week, Monday through Thursday.

Moore said middle and high school principals would share additional details regarding their schedules in the near future.

“Jessamine County’s COVID-19 incidence rate continues to decline, with yesterday’s rate at 31.7,” Moore said in his Friday letter. “This reduction in the spread of the virus in our community, as well as staff vaccinations, and our district’s successful efforts to increase the number of available substitute teachers are significant steps toward safely providing an expanded schedule for in-person instruction.”

Moore said there were several reasons school officials had chosen March 15 as the date for returning to in-person learning. They include:

– Limiting the number of transitions for students and staff is important, and waiting until this time will enable schools to continue to monitor COVID transmission trend data to ensure that the incidence rate stabilizes or continues to decline. This will also allow time to make any necessary adjustments to COVID-19 protocols and procedures in response.

– New revised guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week eliminates the requirement for quarantines for those individuals who have received both vaccine doses and are two weeks past the administration of their second dose.

– March 15 coincides with the time when the large percentage of the district’s staff who should soon receive their second dose will have maximum protection and meet this criteria. This change will help to limit staff quarantines and ensure that schools are able to provide adequate staffing for our in-person students.

– This date also coincides with the beginning of the next nine week grading period and the time when students who request a change from the Virtual Learning Academy to in-person or from in-person to the VLA will make the transition. Moore said he wanted families to have as much time as possible to plan for their needs and select their students’ instructional model for the last nine-week grading period.

“As we have progressed through this pandemic, I hope our actions have confirmed that JCS takes the safety of our students and staff very seriously,” Moore said in his statement. “If your child is currently receiving instruction through the VLA and your family’s situation allows for it, we would love to see your child return to in-person instruction for the final quarter.”

The letter on the district’s website included a digital link where parents could go to change their children’s instructional model. Feb. 25 is the deadline to make the change.

Those students who request a change will make the transition on March 15.

No action is required for students to remain in the same instructional model as the current grading period.

“Our smaller in-person class sizes and small groups are having a tremendous impact on our teachers’ ability to individualize instruction and provide additional learning opportunities for students,” Moore said.

He said schools would take advantage of the time between now and March 15 to continue this work and provide extra support to assist those students who may need to catch up before all students whose parents choose in-person learning to return to campus March 15.