FRANKFORT, Ky. — In an executive order signed Friday, Gov. Andy Beshear recommends Kentucky schools in counties with "critical" spread of coronavirus delay resuming in-person learning until Jan. 11, 2021.
Per the order, all schools will be allowed to return to in-person learning on Jan. 4, even if that school is in one of the 116 red counties on Kentucky's COVID-19 incidence rate map. But, the state recommended that schools in those counties consider waiting an extra week before reopening classrooms "to prevent the spread of disease following the holidays."
Alongside the return to classrooms, every school must provide "meaningful virtual options for all students" that ensure students have the same access to "rigorous" and advanced placement classes as students who are learning in person.
Schools in orange or red counties that decide to return to in-person learning must also make accommodations for employees at higher risk of complications should they contract COVID-19, including alternative and virtual assignment options. Those deemed "high-risk" include people over age 65, those over age 55 who also have heart disease or hypertension, and people with chronic kidney disease or other conditions.
"The requirements in this Order apply to all public K-12 schools. It is also recommended that all private schools follow these provisions," the executive order read.
Every K-12 school was required to close on Nov. 23, part of sweeping pandemic restrictions following exponential growth in new COVID-19 cases and measures meant to curb an expected bump in COVID-19 cases following Thanksgiving.
On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed Beshear's Nov. 23 order halting in-person learning after a recent legal challenge by religious schools in Kentucky, which was joined by Attorney General Daniel Cameron. That order remains in effect until Jan. 4.
Read the full executive order on schools, in effect on Jan. 4, 2021, in the viewer below.