Schools to begin with virtual instruction in August
Cumberland County Schools will begin with all students receiving virtual instruction on the originally scheduled start date of Aug. 13, 2020.
“We know that in-person instruction is the best option,” said Dr. Kirk Biggerstaff, superintendent of schools. “But with the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the county along with guidance from the commissioner of education and the governor, we must act wisely and do what is in the best interest of students, families, school employees, and this community.”
The school district does not have an estimated date for return to in-person instruction, but the intent is to do so as soon as possible.
“We are hopeful that with mitigation strategies the number of cases in the region will quickly plateau and then decrease,” Biggerstaff said. “We are working closely with the Lake Cumberland Health Department to know when it will be safe to go back to in-person instruction.”
When schools resume in-person instruction, parents will still have the option to continue with the virtual instruction program.
Students learning virtually will utilize the Google Classroom platform for daily instructional videos and assignments. Daily participation will count as student attendance, and teachers will provide instruction, remediation, and other related services such as speech and counseling during regular school hours using video conferencing when necessary.
“We have also given special consideration for families who may not have reliable internet access,” Biggerstaff said. “While this number is relatively low, we want to accommodate those families by providing quality instruction the best way possible.”
Each school has scheduled orientation dates and will meet with parents and students in small groups using appropriate health guidelines to discuss expectations for the virtual instruction program. All students will be offered a Chromebook. Students who do not have Internet access will receive downloaded instructional videos and assignments that will allow them to keep pace with academic progress.
Kentucky superintendents received an email from Interim Commissioner Kevin Brown last Thursday indicating that school districts with plans to return to in-person classes on or before Aug. 14 to begin planning either beginning virtually or delaying the start of school. Biggerstaff said that members of the Cumberland County Board of Education agree that delaying the start date for school was not the best option and that virtual instruction was the best course of action given the circumstances.
Schools are required to complete 170 days of instruction, and a delay to the start date would alter the board-approved calendar for the 2020-2021 school year.
Orientation is tentatively scheduled for Cumberland County High School on Aug. 5, Cumberland County Middle School on Aug. 6, and Cumberland County Elementary School on Aug. 7. Dates for appointments will be handled at each school.