JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio

Pictured: JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio delivers state of the district address on Feb. 25, 2021. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Jefferson County Public Schools will return to in-person learning on Wednesday, March 17 in hybrid format.

Kindergarten through second grade students will return March 17 followed by those in third through fifth grades on March 18. Most students in elementary schools will learn in person two days a week and participate in remote instruction three days a week on a similar schedule as middle and high schools, according to the approved reopening plan.

The district will provide PPE for students, teachers and staff. It will also follow all guidelines for schools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

JCPS will also provide free COVID-19 testing to students, employees and/or parents who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19, even if they are not experiencing symptoms.

"We know there will be contact tracing. There will most likely be quarantining and possibly cases," Pollio said. "We've worked very closely with Metro Health Department to clearly know where every child is sitting. If they have that social distancing with the masking, then they may not have to quarantine. That's a decision we will do in collaboration with the health department when there is a case."

Preschool classrooms are slated to reopen March 22, while middle and high schools begin operating on hybrid schedules April 5, immediately after spring break.

"As a result of the hybrid model, there is a lot less students on the bus. We don't have buses that will have more than 25 students on them," said Pollio.

JCPS has not offered in-person instruction since March 2020 in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The district expects about 60% of students will return to schools once in-person instruction resumes. The remaining 40% will attend its virtual academy, according to the results of an ongoing family survey.

Pollio believes it's possible the district could return to in-person learning five days a week by the end of the school year, but that decision is ultimately up to the school board. He is optimistic that students would be in the buildings full-time for the fall semester.

"Right now, there is no mechanism in our state for anything but five days a week, full-time, in-person school," Pollio said.

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