BOONE COUNTY, Ky. — Boone County Schools are gearing up to move from their A/B hybrid system to a fully in-person classroom setting for four days a week, despite rising infection incidence of COVID-19 in the county.
The district's superintendent, Matthew Turner, sent a letter to families on Tuesday, explaining the district's decision and reasoning. The letter acknowledges that the current COVID-19 incidence rate has risen in Boone County to 25.6 new cases per 100,000 people. The Kentucky Department of Public Health recommends districts in counties with more than 25 new cases per 100,000 people move to fully virtual schooling.
For parents like Jodi Collins, however, the move is still welcome, despite rising numbers in the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I mean, I'm really excited," said Collins. "I actually teared up when I got the email... I see this as a positive step forward."
Collins said her daughter has struggled with remote learning, and she's heard similar stories from other parents. The remote system has also been difficult for Collins and other working parents.
"Being able to be in a one-on-one with the special education teachers and her math teachers and her science and reading teachers, it’s only helping her," said Collins.
The letter from Turner goes on to explain that the district believes the high incidence rate in the county is not indicative of infections or transmissions within the school, but rather that infections are occurring because of community spread.
"While this increase in cases and reaching 25 new cases per 100K people in Boone County is cause for concern in our community and in our schools, we must move beyond the absolutism of case numbers and test positivity, and we must prioritize the education and well-being of our students," the letter from Turner reads.
Boone County Schools declined a request for an interview for this story, but a spokesperson for the district said Turner and school officials are still working on what the in-person schooling will fully look like.
"Mr. Turner is still working with his Principals on how this will be rolled out," read the statement from school representative Barbara Brady. "There will be no interviews until that is completed."
The district plans to return to classrooms on Monday, a move that was initially slated for October 29 but was postponed, citing rising COVID-19 metrics in the county.