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Here's what back-to-school will look like in all 6 Campbell County public school districts

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Posted at 2:19 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 12:30:12-04

All information is current as of noon on Aug. 19.

Gov. Andy Beshear's formal recommendation that schools delay the start of in-person instruction until at least Sept. 28 brought big scheduling changes to districts across Kentucky, including those in Campbell County.

Here's what we know about what parents and students can expect.

BELLEVUE INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS
All-remote learning

In Bellevue, the 2020-’21 school year will start online.

According to superintendent Robb Smith, a reopening task force concluded it could not develop a safety plan that would enable students and staff to return to in-person lessons without substantial risk.

“Given the current guidelines set by the Kentucky Department of Education and multiple health agencies, it is clear that our schools face too many physical, financial, and personnel constraints to enforce said guidelines with confidence,” Smith wrote in a July 16 letter to families. “Additionally, there is no way to begin the impending school year with a primary focus on instruction when so much energy will be directed at masking, sanitizing, and social distancing.”

In the letter, Smith promised an innovative approach to remote learning but providing few details, saying the plan remained under development. He asked parents to fill out a feedback form if they had questions, concerns or complaints.

CAMPBELL COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Online start, then parents’ choice (Blended learning or online)

What will classes look like?

Campbell County school board members voted to start classes online on Sept. 14, with in-person classes start Sept. 28. Fall and spring break will be shortened from five days to three days with a week-and-a-half-long winter break.

Even after Sept. 28, no students will return to full-time classes in their school buildings. Parents can instead choose a blended learning model involving some in-school time or a completely virtual model. Families that select the virtual model will not be allowed to change their choice until December.

The blended learning option will split students into two groups, each of which would attend school for two days a week (either Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday) and work at home for the remaining three.

For all students, district officials wrote in their plan, teachers will endeavor to provide “synchronous” instruction — the same lesson given at the same time, regardless of whether students are at home or at school.

What safety measures can I expect?

Students and staff will be screened for fever using non-touch thermometers upon entering their school building each day.

Once inside, all students and staff will be required to wear masks unless they are unable to do so for a medical reason. Masks can be lowered indoors when students are more than six feet away from the nearest person and no one is walking around the classroom.

Masks must also be worn aboard school buses.

School mealtimes will be rearranged to allow more time for students to wash their hands and practice good sanitation. Other meal-specific safety measures will depend on the individual school and the age of the students.

DAYTON INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT
Remote start on Aug. 31

All Dayton students will start their school year virtually on Aug. 31. The hoped-for first week of school, Aug. 24-28, will instead become an orientation week for parents, students and teachers to prepare for remote instruction.

The district will provide smart devices for students to learn from home during this time. Any parents with questions about where to pick up their device, how to set up their child's account or how to continue picking up school meals during the remote-learning portion of the year should contact their child's principal.

FORT THOMAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS
Remote start on Aug. 31

What will classes look like?

Fort Thomas has moved back its start date to Aug. 31 with non-traditional instruction (NTI) for the first few weeks of classes.

Before Gov. Andy Beshear's recommendation to delay the start of in-person instruction until Sept. 28, Fort Thomas intended to return to on-campus learning on Aug. 26.

"This seven-day stretch (from 8/24 to 8/31) will allow our teachers and staff the additional planning time necessary to create lesson plans and map out what learning from home will look like during the first month of the school year. We have an incredibly talented team of teachers and staff and they'll do an amazing job," wrote Superintendent Dr. Karen Cheser.

District leaders hope to be back in schools for five-day-a-week learning on Sept. 28.

"But, in the meantime, we will continue to be in contact with state and local health officials while monitoring COVID-19 infection data in Fort Thomas, the surrounding region and the state of Kentucky," Cheser said.

In the district's original plan, families would be able to choose to keep children home for online learning or send them to school for a full five-day week. Each choice will hold until the end of the fall semester, barring a change that forces the entire district to move online.

In a previous letter to families, superintendent Cheser wrote: "We do not have the same constraints that are forcing others to begin the year with an A/B schedule or with NTI. … we were able to meet the safety requirements through creative scheduling, new uses of space, and innovative programming in order to keep student cohorts small and 6-foot distanced.”

What safety measures can I expect?

Each school within the district has a separate web page, accessible by scrolling to the bottom of this one, outlining its specific safety requirements.

NEWPORT INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS
Virtual start on Aug. 31, then parents’ choice (Blended learning or online)

What will classes look like?

Classes will begin remotely on Aug. 31, superintendent Tony Watts announced the day after Gov. Beshear made his public recommendation. Families should expect their children to continue learning from home until at least Sept. 28.

Once in-person instruction resumes, Newport families will have a choice between sending their children to school for part of the week or keeping them home to learn virtually full-time.

The blended learning model will divide students into two groups: One that attends in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday, then one that does the same on Thursday and Friday. All school buildings will be closed on Wednesdays for deep cleaning and sanitizing, according to a news release from superintendent Tony Watts.

Depending on the status of the pandemic later in the fall, the district could transition to a totally virtual model to keep students safe.

What safety measures can I expect?

Students attending in-person classes will have their temperatures taken when they enter their building each morning; masks will be required unless seated.

Teachers, not students, will move between classrooms throughout the day to minimize opportunities for transmission of the virus.

School meals will be eaten in classrooms, not cafeterias. Water fountains will be shut off, but students will receive water bottles.

SOUTHGATE INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS
Remote start on Aug. 26

Nailing down a plan has been tough for Southgate, superintendent Greg Duty wrote in an Aug. 10 letter to parents: "I have come to realize that everything that we do now has become very fluid and changes may occur on a daily basis."

Like other districts in the county, Southgate will delay the start of in-person instruction until at least Sept. 28. All students will learn virtually until then, Duty wrote, promising more details for families soon.

"We can assure you that our Team will continue to work around the clock and make the best decisions possible for our students and staff," he wrote. "There has been a lot of resources put into our reopening plan thus far so we’ll continue to focus on the top priorities within it."

According to the district calendar posted online, the first day of school is still Aug. 26.