Owensboro Public Schools (OPS) announced Friday that it would be moving forward with in-person learning beginning on Monday, Oct. 12.
The school district's plan to move forward with in-person instruction comes among steadily increasing COVID-19 numbers within western Kentucky and Daviess County specifically, with the county currently in the state health department's "Orange" status, indicating an accelerated rate of COVID-19 spread.
Students are attending class on a rotating A/B schedule with Kentucky's "Healthy at School" guidelines in place. With the announcement to move forward with in-person learning, OPS said that when following those guidelines properly, schools "are not contributing to community spread."
The Healthy at School guidelines require that masks be worn at all times, and schools in the district are taking extra precautions for when that isn't possible - such as in the cafeteria, where students will need to take masks off to eat and drink.
Inside one OPS cafeteria, seats are separated by plexiglass dividers in order to keep students safe.
"Part of the Healthy at School guidelines is making sure that kids are spread out, making sure that they're not coming in close contact with each other while they have their masks off and they're eating," said Jared Revlett, the current public information officer for OPS. "Everything's gonna look a little different this year."
OPS says it's important for all families in the district to follow health and safety guidelines even when not in school, the help ensure the district doesn't have to move back to virtual-only instruction.
"If our district, or another in our community, is deemed to have contributed to a community spread situation, we will certainly go back to virtual learning to prevent any additional spread," OPS said.
Individual school reopening plans can be found on OPS' reopening website at reopen.tradition1871.com.