LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Citing recent coronavirus trends in Louisville, Jefferson County Public Schools will not allow students to return to in-person classes on Oct. 22 as tentatively scheduled.
In a letter to families Thursday, the district said nontraditional instruction will be extended until there is "a significant reduction" in local COVID-19 cases and health officials determine students and staff can safely return to schools.
"Like many of you, there is nothing we want more than to have students and staff back in our school buildings," the district said in the letter. "But we won’t do that until we know it is safe for our students, their families and our employees."
The Jefferson County Board of Education will consider an updated and detailed reopening plan during a meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the district's letter says.
JCPS schools have been closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, but Superintendent Marty Pollio raised the possibility of gradually reopening classrooms starting next week if local coronavirus data improve.
Key COVID-19 metrics have only worsened since the board's vote, however, leading some members to doubt whether Kentucky's largest school district could begin a phased reopening Oct. 22.
As of Thursday, Jefferson County was nearly in the red phase of the state's color-coded COVID-19 incidence rate map with 24.2 new daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents based on a seven-day average.
Pollio and board members have said they want local COVID-19 cases to put Jefferson County in or near the yellow phase of the state's incidence rate map, or between one and 10 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents each day.
Jefferson County's COVID-19 testing positivity rate was 6.1% based on a two-week rolling average as of Thursday, according to the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness. That's up from 5.5% when the board voted in support of Pollio's proposal Sept. 29.
JCPS plans to release an updated planning document on its website Friday.
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