Lincoln schools to return to classes Jan. 11

Miller says county remains in red zone

Lincoln County students will return to the classroom on Jan. 11.

That was the decision made by the Lincoln County Board of Education on Thursday, Dec. 17, by a vote of 5-0. Classes were originally set to resume on Jan. 5 following winter break. The board made the decision to push the start date back to Jan. 11 based on recommendations from Gov. Andy Beshear, which is intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 following the holidays.

A statement from the school district said officials are awaiting final guidance from the Kentucky Department of Education and the Department of Public Health regarding how to successfully reopen classes to some form of in-person instruction.

The COVID-19 Mode of Instruction Metrics for K-12 Education will be used to determine the method of instruction. Based on those metrics, districts in the orange range should use hybrid or remote learning.

A statement issued by the Kentucky Department of Education on Friday said school districts should consider staggering building reopening, prioritizing the return of students at greater risk of learning loss, or those with challenges to remote learning. In addition, schools must continue to offer robust and rigorous virtual programs, including access to Advanced Placement.

“With vaccines arriving this week, we can see the bright light at the end of the tunnel. Now we just need everyone to keep doing their part to protect one another,” Beshear said Thursday.

Private schools are recommended but not required to follow the same guidelines. That news came as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Beshear’s ban of in-person classes from private Christian schools. Danville Christian Academy in Boyle County had challenged the governor’s ban, and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron joined the school in its efforts to keep its classes open to students for in-person learning.

Diane Miller, director of the Lincoln County Health Department, said she is regularly in contact with local school officials.

She said the governor’s recommendations will be followed to see how things go through the Christmas holiday and what type of surges may result from the holiday.

“Also, by us being a red county, there are control measures I would like to see in place before we do in-person learning,” Miller said.

“We talk a lot as far as the safety and health of the children and the staff to go back to school,” Miller added. “We will be looking at different criteria and issues.”

More information on the return to in-person instruction and a potential hybrid learning plan for Lincoln County Schools will be forthcoming as soon as possible. Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to contact the district’s Student Support Center at 606-365-2124.