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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The COVID-19 surge is forcing more school districts to either switch to online-only education or consider extending the time they had planned to spend in virtual classes.

Clarksville Community Schools is preparing to move to distance learning if, as the health department anticipates, Clark County moves into the state's red zone this week because of the growing number of cases and the rising infection rate.  

“We are directly in contact with the health department, and if the need comes to move to remote learning, we will have that ready for our students,” said Scott Gardner, director of safety and transportation for the district.

The Clarksville school district has been all-virtual for the past two weeks because of staffing shortages. It is scheduled to move to a hybrid model Thursday, in which half of the students will be in class for part of the week and half will be online.

Gardner said the district would like to maintain that schedule, but if the county goes red, school officials will revisit that plan.

“That becomes a very serious situation," he said. "That does show evidence of community spread and that we need to have a big change made."

The larger Greater Clark School District is scheduled to end in-person classes Nov. 20.

There is no word yet on whether that could be moved up if the coronavirus continues to surge, but Clark County Medical Director Dr. Eric Yazel said the health department will likely push all schools to go virtual if the county sounds the red alert.

“It means we're going to have a real frank discussion about that, about the viability of being able to go in-person,” Yazel said Sunday.

Gardner asked the community to do what it can to help schools continue traditional education.

“The better choices that are made outside of school help us stay in school," he said. "The community can help us get this done.”

But a growing number of school districts in both Indiana and Kentucky are moving to virtual learning as the virus surges on both sides of the Ohio River.

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