Shelby County Students

SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Although Shelby County has now been labeled as "red" on the state's COVID-19 Incidence Rate Map, Shelby County Public Schools has no plans to stop in-person instruction.

More than 70% of the students in the district have chosen to be in the building for face-to-face instruction since the district returned to classes in September. And district leaders said they're confident in each school's unique plans to keep students distant, masked and sanitized.

"They are wearing their masks, they are complying with all the directions we've given them, and I believe it's because they are so happy to be back in school and to be able to have in-person learning," SCPS Superintendent Dr. Sally Sugg said.

Each school is adapting to the COVID-19 environment with unique measures like spaced-out cafeterias, lunches in gyms and even floor markings to direct students through hallways.

"There are directional markings in our hallways where we keep our traffic flowing in one direction so students aren't coming face-to-face with other students in the hallways," said Traci Earley, the district's health coordinator. "You're going to see everything spaced out, especially in our cafeterias, eating spaces are 6 feet apart."

While cases in the Shelby County community are on the rise, the district's numbers are in stark contrast. As of Wednesday, only nine students and staff members are positive and isolated out of the district's nearly 8,000.

Sugg said that's why SCPS relies on more than just the incidence rate map to determine whether to move to online learning again.

"That is a county-wide metric," she said. "That doesn't really tell what is active in our school."

To be transparent and allow the school community to monitor the current status of COVID-19 in schools, the district updates its numbers daily on a dashboard. You can view that by clicking here.

Despite the rising trends in the community, school leaders feel that trends other than the incidence rate show that Shelby County Schools can continue in-person learning safely for the time being.

Administrators feel that the work of staff and students to follow strict guidelines has allowed them to mitigate the spread even when the community faces a rise in cases.

"Parents can feel very comfortable with sending their students back even though our county map is in the red," Sugg said.

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