Virtual learning

Britney Hargrove / Marshall County Parks

Teachers from Marshall County Schools will gear up in reindeer antlers and elf boots to spread holiday cheer at an annual light show in Benton, with many students missing out on their annual Christmas parties at school this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Family Service Society / Facebook

Western Kentucky food pantries are still struggling to feed families and stock their shelves as the region continues to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Andy Beshear confirmed 3,649 new cases of coronavirus Thursday, the highest the commonwealth has seen in a single day. The top five highest days since the pandemic reached Kentucky were reported this week.

Zachary Austrew is still trying to come to terms with what it means to be the sole breadwinner in his household.

"We're not that family where I go to work, and she stays home and cleans the house, and I expect dinner when I return," he says. "That's not how we operate."

And yet, with two young children stuck at home and Austrew's project management job deemed essential, they more or less are — for now. This summer, his wife Ashley quit her full-time job in marketing and is now homeschooling the kids.

Sal Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, built an education enterprise on virtual learning. But as many communities across the country prepare to start the fall with online-only instruction, even he admits that distance learning is a less than perfect substitute for in-person schooling.

The former hedge fund analyst first hatched the idea for Khan Academy as a way to tutor his younger cousins in math. Since its launch in 2008, the site has been providing free video tutorials and lectures. Today, it serves more than 100 million users worldwide.

  Juggling a job while being a child’s co-teacher is a struggle for any parent, but families who have students with disabilities say they’re seeing the worst of the downside of removing students from in-person classes.


Western Kentucky public schools over the summer set out multiple plans to offer in-person, online, and hybrid/alternating courses in what appears to be an effort to be prepared for anything. But just as many were beginning to settle into the plan to reopen campuses later this month, districts across the state were thrown into a scramble when Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Aug. 10 his recommendation the schools hold off in-person instruction until Sept. 28. 



The first day of classes at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah is only 25 days away. As COVID-19 cases continue to spike throughout the state, higher education institutions are forced to rethink how they might reopen for the Fall 2020 semester. President of WKCTC, Dr. Anton Reece, speaks with Tracy Ross about the college's plan to welcome students back to campus as safely as possible.