Kentucky teachers and students who had hoped to get the chance to return to the classroom this year saw their plans come to an end on Monday when Governor Andy Beshear announced that schools should plan on remaining closed through the end of the current school year.

Some 600,000 Kentucky students have been home schooling since March 13, when Beshear asked schools to close for two weeks. That closure has been extended multiple times since, finally ending with Monday’s announcement.

In a teleconference call, Beshear told Kentucky’s public school superintendents that the school closure period that began March 16 should continue even after Kentucky reaches phase one of the federally recommended guidelines for reopening the state.

“Because of that, I’m not going to be able to recommend that we resume in-person classes this year,” Beshear said. “It’s just not going to be safe for our kids, it’s not going be safe for our families and it could frustrate all the gains we have made to this point.”

In conjunction with the governor’s announcement, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released a plan designed to maximize instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan allows districts to continue to use the Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) Program for the remainder of the school year and grants relief for districts as they attempt to reach the equivalent of 1,062 hours of instructional time.

“Our schools have been closed to in-person classes, but our schools have not been closed. This does provide you some certainty, though,” Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown said. “Here is something that we’re going to be able to do at the state level that I think will assist everyone.”

An official notice had not been received from Webster County Schools as of press time on Tuesday, but a notice of the goveror’s announcement was uploaded to the board of education’s Facebook page late Monday evening. It included a reminder to students and parents to drop-off Link2Learn packets at the school on Thursday and to pickup new assignments.

The last day of class for Webster County students is scheduled for Friday, May 15. Until that time, the school is expected to continue following its Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI)/Link2Learn plan, which has students completing assignments from home.

According to Superintendent Rhonda Callaway, Webster County School officials are currently working on a virtual graduation for all members of the Class of 2020, with an in-person graduation to be held at a later date when social distancing guidelines are lifted.

Contact Matt Hughes at matt@journalenterprise.com or 270-667-2069.