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Kentucky teacher union calls for delay of school reopenings

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Posted at 8:06 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 20:06:14-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s teacher union is calling on school officials to delay the beginning of in-class instruction until the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate drops.

The Kentucky Education Association released a statement Friday calling on schools to start the year with virtual learning from home. The union said districts should avoid reopening until the positivity rate of the state and the school’s county remain under 4% for 21 consecutive days.

“The coronavirus situation in Kentucky at this moment is far worse than it was in March,” when schools and school-related activities were halted, the KEA wrote.

“If we all believed it wasn’t safe to operate schools then, how can it possibly be safe to reopen now?”

Gov. Andy Beshear said Friday the state’s positivity rate — a seven-day rolling figure reflecting the average number of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 — had increased to 5.57%. There were 573 new cases reported in the state Friday and four new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 764.

Beshear’s administration has released guidelines for returning teachers and students that includes masking in class and unlimited virtual learning days. But Beshear has also said in response to questions that he would prefer that schools delay in-class instruction.

The union represents about 42,000 educators in Kentucky.

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