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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Hardin County Schools will extend distance learning through the Thanksgiving holiday as "a significant number of students and staff" remain quarantined after COVID-19 exposures, the district announced Thursday.

HCS first transitioned to nontraditional instruction on Nov. 4 as COVID-19 cases escalated in Hardin County, and the local caseload has only increased since.

The district expects to resume in-person instruction Nov. 30 if COVID-19 numbers improve. HCS has reported 43 active coronavirus cases among students and staff, according to data posted on its website.

As of Wednesday, Hardin County's COVID-19 incidence rate was 52.8 new daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents based on a seven-day rolling average compared to 37.7 when the district first announced its decision to suspend in-person instruction on Oct. 30. Both incidence rates put Hardin County in Kentucky's "red zone" for COVID-19.

"We hope to resume face-to-face instruction in the hybrid A/B schedule on Monday, November 30," HCS Superintendent Teresa Morgan said in a statement.

"The only way for that to happen is for our community to wear masks in public, keep social distance in public, wash their hands, not attend large gatherings where social distancing cannot be accomplished and follow the guidelines from our public health officials."

Students who attended in-person classes on a hybrid schedule are expected to participate daily during remote instruction, according to the district's news release.

"We all know that traditional face-to-face instruction is the best way to practice the art of teaching and learning," Morgan said. "However, every member of the HCS family has accepted the consequences, rolled up their sleeves and went to work so that students can receive the best instruction possible. I just cannot say how much I appreciate our team."

Schools and 25 mobile sites will serve to-go breakfasts and lunches from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. every weekday during distance learning.

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