LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – In response to calls for more autonomy for school administrators, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear unveiled new coronavirus guidelines for the reopening on Monday.
The Democratic governor also announced 342 new cases and five more deaths, although the number is expected to rise later in the week due to notification delays. Bluegrass State now has a total of 57,282 cases and more than 1,000 deaths.
According to an emergency declaration signed by the governor on Monday, all public and private schools from kindergarten to grade 12 will be required to submit data on coronaviruses. The data will then be reflected in a publicly accessible school district-wide dashboard, as well as a color-coded state map.
Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr Steven Stack insisted the system will help school administrators more easily determine the level of spread in their communities.
K-12 schools in green or yellow areas, for example, could call to send students home for virtual education if their county’s positivity rate exceeds 6%. Schools in counties classified as red or orange would be encouraged to stop teaching in person, Governor Beshear urged.
“If you are in the red, it is not responsible for doing face-to-face learning every day,” he said. “We have a greater responsibility towards our students.
Last week, twenty-five counties reported positivity rates of 10% or more.
The positivity rate is an indicator of the extent of the virus’s spread, according to the World Health Organization. If the rate is below 5% for two weeks and testing is generalized, the virus is considered to be under control. As of Monday, the total positivity rate was 4.17% statewide.
This information would allow school districts to make their own recommendations based on local conditions in their area, Beshear said. He previously recommended that schools wait until September 28 to resume in-person classes in early August.
“There will be no further recommendation from my office after September 28 regarding in-person or virtual classes,” he said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that go away within a few weeks. But for others, especially the elderly and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.