One area school district voted Monday not to wait until Sept. 28 to resume in-school classes. The Livingston County school board voted 3-1 to resume classes Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.
Gov. Andy Beshear recommended that public schools begin during the third week of August with at-home instruction — with most beginning on Aug. 24 — and continue that method of instruction until at least Sept. 28.
Superintendent Victor Zimmerman said that the decision was discussed at several recent board meetings, with votes of 3-2 to continue non-traditional at-home instruction.
“We will begin offering (in-school instruction) for those who wish to use it,” he said.
Livingston County had prepared a hybrid method of instruction. Parents responded to surveys over the summer as to how they wished their children to take instruction: in school or at home through online classes, usually termed non-traditional instruction, or NTI.
For those students who parents wanted them to take instruction in school, elementary and middle school students were broken down into two groups, with one group attending on Tuesday and Thursday and the other group attending on Wednesday and Friday, with Monday serving as an at-home instruction day for all students.
At Livingston Central High School, juniors and seniors would attend on Tuesday and Thursday, with freshmen and sophomores attending Wednesday and Friday.
“We’ve been working on this for quite some time now,” Zimmerman said. “We had it ready to go on Aug. 12, and then, of course, we had the carpet pulled out from under our feet with the request from the governor. We’re finally ready to put it to work.
“We started with the high schools and worked our way down so households would be coming on the same days, and middle schools and elementary schools will be coordinated.”
Zimmerman said the board had been wrestling with the issue a number of times in August. Before Monday’s vote, one board member had to resign from the board because he was moving outside of the school district.
“The one vote that changed was an individual who was really torn when we voted a couple of weeks ago,” he said. “That person really wanted kids back in school, but felt that it was a little too early. So, it was a kind of back-and-forth.
“Even in the meeting, people who were at the meeting could see it, and she even said, ‘I just don’t know’ when the decision to vote was put on her.”
Zimmerman said that there was a lot of community feedback that led to a request from three board members to have a special meeting on Monday to vote on the issue.
“Her original request was to wait until after Labor Day,” he said. “With the time that has gone by now, and thinking about it and getting input from everybody, that was basically the wing vote that changed it.”
Zimmerman said there were two board members who wanted students in school from the first day.
“One (board member) voiced the concern that we just need to honor the recommendation by the governor,” he said. “Then, there was another one who didn’t give an explanation or rationale for his voting, but there was this one that I mentioned who was a swing vote. Her overall statement was that she felt it was a little too early to get them back in person.”
Zimmerman said the board’s vote reflected opinion on the issue nationwide.
“There are split opinions about what is the real data, how big of a concern is it really,” he said. “The core for this vote — what I would boil down to — is that the board members wanted everybody to have that option. If you don’t want to send your kids back to school for in-person, you don’t have to; you can maintain that virtual. But, for those who do want their children back in school should have that option.”