Metro Council members urge governor to provide guidance for reopening Jefferson County schools in the fall

June 5, 2020

Louisville – A bipartisan group of Louisville Metro Council members has signed a letter calling upon Governor Andy Beshear to work with public health officials and school districts across the state to prioritize getting students back into classrooms this fall.

"We believe getting students across the Commonwealth into schools this fall is critical to student achievement, equity, and the normal functioning of our economy,” says Councilman Markus Winkler (D-17), who chairs the Majority Caucus of the Metro Council. “We are not advocating that schools open in defiance of public health standards but that the governor direct the Health Department to quickly establish guidelines for the safe reopening of schools. This will give local schools ample time to figure out how to implement those guidelines. We want school to be safe for teachers, staff, and students and believe time is of the essence in developing and executing those plans."

“COVID-19 will continue to impact nearly every part of our lives for months if not years ahead. What the public needs right now is clarity and consistency from our leaders. The last directives from the Kentucky Department of Education didn’t meet this expectation and can cause damage to those people who are trying to follow health experts while also getting back to work and reopening our economy. I am hopeful that our governor will hear our concerns and move towards a more clear policy so that teachers, parents, and businesses can prepare for the upcoming school year.” – Councilman Anthony Piagentini (R-19)

The letter acknowledges the governor’s actions and leadership in slowing the spread of COVID-19. It also raises the concern that the Kentucky Department of Education is prioritizing non-traditional options at the expense of making sure Kentucky schools are prepared to open this fall.

 “We would also argue that the current KDE guidance presents a worst possible scenario - having some school is almost as disruptive as having no school.  Measures such as alternating days or early and late cut offs only add fear and confusion and make planning for parents and employers extremely difficult.  This is especially true for our poor and working-class citizens.   Parents need certainty to plan for work - ensuring children are in school is critical to that aim,” according to the letter.

The letter recognizes that solutions might vary by age, school type or other factors. However, the council has confidence in schools solving this problem given ample time and proper guidance.

Winkler and Piagentini signed the letter along with Council members Barbara Shanklin (D-2), Keisha Dorsey (D-3), Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4), Kevin Kramer (R-11) Rick Blackwell (D-12), Mark Fox (D-13), Kevin Triplett (D-15), Scott Reed (R-16), Marilyn Parker (R-18), Stuart Benson (R-20), Nicole George (D-21), Robin Engel (R- 22), James Peden (R-23), David Yates (D-25), and President David James (D-6).

 

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To see the letter which will be sent to Governor Beshear on Monday June 8th go to:

https://louisvilleky.gov/sites/default/files/metro_council/pdf_files/sch...