Owensboro Public Schools moving to virtual learning

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:42 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 11, 2020 at 6:44 PM CST
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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Owensboro Public Schools are moving to virtual learning due to rising COVID-19 cases.

The reasoning behind this decision is because Daviess County has continued to stay listed as a “red zone” on the state’s COVID-19 metrics map.

On top of the county’s “red zone” metrics, Thanksgiving Break is around the corner and district officials fear an uptick in cases will occur after the holiday.

By moving the district virtually during that time period, administrators say this will help reduce the potential COVID-19 spread inside the schools.

“We haven’t seen an incidence of spreading within our schools transmitting to one and other," Dr. Matthew Constant, the superintendent at Owensboro Public Schools said. "But, we are noticing the increase rates in our community that is impacting our school and school operations.”

Virtual learning will start Monday and last through at least Friday, December 4.

Families will be notified no later than Thursday, December 3 as to what OPS will be doing after December 4.

Dr. Constant says that school officials will also reassess plans for next semester.

Here is the full letter sent to families:

OPS Families and Staff,

When we began the 2020 school year, we knew things were going to be ever-changing and that families, staff, and students would have to be flexible as we navigated this new landscape. We understand that there is no substitute for in-person learning which is why we adopted the A/B model to get as many students in as possible for as many days as possible.

Unfortunately, though numbers in our schools remain relatively low, the number of positive cases in our community is reaching a highly elevated level and only continues to climb. The Daviess County community is in a “red” zone and we are beginning to see an increase in quarantines and positive cases from outside our schools that are impacting our buildings and limiting our ability to fully operate. At the same time, though our schools have not had any cases of spread in our district, we have a responsibility to help curb community spread and do our part to ensure that people are limiting their exposure to others to help lower the number of cases in our community.

As a result, beginning this Monday, November 16, our district will be moving to an all virtual format through at least Friday, December 4. This will look much like the beginning of the school year with the students currently on the A/B model being virtual for four days instead of only two. Virtual Academy will not change. A plan following December 4 will be announced on December 3.

Schools will be communicating with their students and families, especially “A” Group students, about picking up additional materials they didn’t take with them this week. Some schools may also still utilize small group instruction and will communicate that with families as well.

Meal service will still be provided at no cost to students Monday through Friday by drive-thru pickup at any OPS school except Emerson Academy, Hager Preschool and Seven Hills Headstart each day from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

As we mentioned in a previous letter, the goal was for in-person learning to continue as long as we possibly could, however, with the positive case/quarantine count severely limiting our ability to provide our core mission services (teaching/learning, food, transportation), we needed to make this change.

It remains our hope to get back to in-person learning as soon as possible, but we all need to do our part to bring the numbers down in our community so that we are able to do so. I appreciate your flexibility and understanding during this time. Please know we always strive to make the best decisions for our students and their families and we believe this is the best decision at this time.

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