New system will help Ky. schools track COVID-19 cases, make information-based decisions
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday announced there will be no further recommendations from his administration after Sept. 28 regarding in-person or online classes in lieu of COVID-19 and its spread. Instead, schools across Kentucky are encouraged to make their own data-driven decisions.
During his Monday briefing, Beshear and Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack unveiled a new protocol for K-12 schools to track COVID-19 cases.
“What’s going to be provided is the information needed to make a week by week decision in our various school districts and counties based on prevalence and what public health experts believe is the right course based on that prevalence,” Beshear said.
Under an emergency regulation filed Monday, parents and guardians will be required to report to a school within 24 hours if their student tests positive for the coronavirus. Then, schools are required to report to the state, Monday through Friday, the number of positive cases, and the number of people in quarantine among both students and staff. All of the information will then be populated on a public dashboard.
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“We hope that this dashboard will provide real-time actionable information for parents, for teachers, for school staff,” Stack said.
Stack also introduced a color-coded COVID-19 incident rate map with corresponding guidelines to help schools decide if they should stay open from week to week.
“Whatever color you are you follow those instructions. If you are green or yellow, you essentially follow the Kentucky Department of Education ‘Healthy at School’ guidance,” Stack said. “If you hit orange, you know you are heading for trouble, and it’s recommended whether you consider virtual-only, hybrid or if you should still consider in-person [learning]. If you hit red though, you should suspend in-person instruction and you should go to virtual learning.”
Kentucky Board of Education chair Lu Young encouraged schools to comply with the new system.
“I’m here today to urge schools and districts to fully engage in this new process of data reporting around COVID as we move forward to reopen schools safely,” Young said. Both public and private schools must comply with the new reporting structure by Sept. 28. Colleges and universities do not have to report their data directly to the state but many do track those numbers and report them publicly.
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