Despite rumors and plunging COVID rates, the Warren County Board of Education has said returning to in-person classes on Fridays is unlikely this school year.
Director of Schools Grant Swallows addressed the issue Thursday night during the School Board’s regular monthly meeting.
“Apparently today the rumors started getting around talking about our schedule,” he said.
Swallows said coronavirus rates are showing dramatic improvement.
“As of yesterday, we only had three students who were isolated because of sickness and we had zero employees isolated because of sickness,” Swallows said.
With the lower numbers, rumors have been circulating that the virtual Friday classes will shift to in-person classes.
“As we move forward, I believe everybody’s getting into their mind that we’re going back to normal and we’ve turned a corner,” Swallows said. “While we are thankful for less sickness, we still have to be diligent in what we’re doing.”
Swallows said over 700 students are still in the virtual learning program and that returning to a five-day, in-person schedule would not be wise.
“At the end of the day, I just don’t see how we can do that in our current state,” Swallows said. “I would love nothing more for us to go back to a normal school day, school week.”
Swallows did say he wanted to return sooner rather than later, but now is not the time.
School Board member James Bennett said, “Teachers are using it for planning time, using it for collaboration with other teachers.”
Bennett said it gives more of an opportunity to clean the buildings and classrooms and added, “I think that we should leave it as it is.”
School Board members Sue Anderson and Tommy Culwell backed up Bennett with Anderson saying, “We only have 10 weeks left this year so I don’t see a need to vote.”
School Board member Bill Zechman said, “Students and parents need some clarity and some definitions on some sense of certainty on this.”
Zechman asked if the School Board should vote to keep the current four-day schedule for the rest of the year, but School Board chair Tanya Bess said that wasn’t necessary since nothing is changing.