LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As school districts across Kentucky work to hammer out their own "Healthy at School" reopening plans, some extra first-day jitters are expected as new health guidelines will create new routines.
"I've never really worn a mask in a school before, so it'd be weird," said Elijah Hollan, an incoming freshman at Bullitt County Public Schools (BCPS).
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to rock the commonwealth, Gov. Andy Beshear recommended districts stop in-person learning during the final months of the 2019-20 school year in hopes of limiting the spread of the respiratory disease. The idea of classes resuming in late August doesn't come without a few concerns for Hollan's family.
"This virus is so prevalent that you don't know who has it and who doesn't," said Hollan's mom, Chelsea Moore. "We'll be disinfecting a lot, and it's straight in the shower when he gets home."
BCPS says it plans to reopen its classrooms while following state guidelines, which were released Wednesday during a briefing in Frankfort, Kentucky. The guidelines call for schools to enforce social distancing in classrooms and hallways, ask students to wear masks in certain scenarios and have their temperature checked before boarding buses, among other changes to a typical day of learning.
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman offered blunt advice to those who refuse to wear masks in schools.
"Wearing a mask is much more comfortable than wearing a respirator," Coleman said.
As serious as the new health guidelines are, BCPS Superintendent Jesse Bacon, in a letter home to parents, said, "We do not need to make classrooms fearsome for students or teachers, with plastic shower curtains or Plexiglas partitions."
When it comes to rethinking their classrooms, BCPS teachers are being encouraged to think outside the box, which includes adding more outdoor spaces. The district will still offer online learning for families who'd rather stay at home.
Schools in Hardin County will also accommodate those who prefer online learning.
"We are prepared to offer nontraditional instruction in cases where NTI would be the best health option for students," said John Wright, a spokesperson for Hardin County Schools.
In order to be in line with state guidelines, all districts must step up their cleaning efforts.
"We'll be using sanitizing materials often and disinfecting classrooms and common areas with much much more frequency," said Wright, adding that Hardin County's first day of school may be pushed back.
"We are considering starting Aug. 24th or the Tuesday after Labor Day," he said.
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