Western Kentucky School Districts Move To Virtual Learning Due To COVID-19 Cases, Staff Shortage
Two western Kentucky school districts this week will move to virtual learning in the upcoming days due to staffing shortages and COVID-19 cases and quarantines among staff and students. The two districts follow more than a dozen others across the state that have seen closures or moves to virtual learning due to the continuing surge of COVID-19 spread.
Marshall County Schools announced on social media Tuesday the district will have a virtual teaching day on Friday and be closed on Sept. 7 following Labor Day.
Marshall County Schools Superintendent Steve Miracle said that the longer break over the Labor Day weekend will help give teachers some relief from the strain of having to instruct both in-person and virtual students. He said with having to quarantine teachers due to COVID-19 exposure, the demand for substitute teachers has significantly increased.
“You still have teachers that are having to miss for the normal things teachers miss for,” Miracle said. “But we then also have on top of that staff that are either quarantined because they have a possible COVID exposure, and then we have staff that have tested positive.”
He said he wanted to give students and staff that are currently in quarantine or isolation time to recover without using more of the district’s limited days allowed for fully virtual instruction. Earlier in the pandemic, schools were allowed to use an unlimited number of what’s known as non-traditional instruction (NTI) days to have all students learn remotely, but the state legislature limited districts to 10 days of NTI for the upcoming school year.
Data from Marshall County Schools as of Tuesday afternoon show 422 students quarantined due to potential COVID-19 exposure and 97 active student cases. 14 staff are quarantined and 19 have active cases.
Crittenden County Schools also announced on Monday the district would begin virtual instruction on Wednesday through September 10, with a drive-thru meal pick-up during the duration of virtual learning.
Liam Niemeyer contributed reporting to this story.