Information for School Friday and the week of February 1- February 5
Tomorrow, Friday January 29, will be a virtual learning day because of snow covered side roads and several wet spots on roads that will freeze tonight as the temperature drops to a predicted 19 degrees.
If the weather improves, we do plan to return to in person learning next Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The COVID-19 incidence rate in Lee County has improved significantly and is currently at 15.4. We hope that everyone does not let their guard down because of our good numbers. Continue to wear your masks in public, wash your hands, and practice social distancing to help stop the spread of the virus. We look forward to getting students back in our buildings next week.
No In Person Classes Thursday, Jan. 28
The snow that is coming down now is projected to continue to fall throughout the night and accumulate as much as 2 inches. Tomorrow, Thursday January 28, there will be no in person classes or small groups with our virtual intervention instructors. It will be a virtual learning day for Lee County because of the weather. Please stay safe if you must travel.
In Person Learning January 25-January 29
I want to reach out this afternoon to let you know that we will be able to continue in-person learning this coming week, January 25- January 29. Wednesday will continue to be a virtual learning day. Our numbers are staying fairly consistent and we feel as though we can safely bring students into our buildings because we continue to follow CDC recommendations.
It is very important that families keep in contact with the schools if your children have been around a positive case of COVID-19 so we can help determine when they may return to in person learning. In order to best protect everyone, students need to remain on quarantine for 14 days after contact with a positive case but it can be very confusing regarding when this time starts and ends. If a student tests positive it is important that they isolate for 10 days, and there is an executive order for parents to communicate that information with the schools as soon as you know so that we can keep all in-person students and staff safe.
We are very fortunate that by the end of the day tomorrow the COVID-19 vaccine will have been administered to all staff that wanted to take it. We thank our local health department and our regional health department for working with us so quickly to get our staff taken care of. We hope this will help us continue to feel good about having in person learning, but we will continue to monitor the incident rate map and make decisions on a weekly basis regarding in-person school for the following week.
We thank our families for all you are doing to support the schools and we want you to know we are here for you. Reach out with any concerns.
Lee County School Families,
The news from the regional health department was promising today and Lee County is headed in the right direction. Our map number is currently at 30.9 and the data is more current now than it had been over the holiday period, so we will start back with in person learning this coming week. Please note that Monday, January 18th is a break day for schools as it is a day set aside to honor the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Students who selected in person learning will come on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday this coming week. Each week that we are in person, Wednesday will remain a virtual learning day to allow us time to deep clean the buildings in the middle of the week and to allow for teachers to have the necessary time to try to balance virtual and in person learners.
While we are very excited to have students coming back in the buildings, it is also a nervous time for all. The only way we can make it happen safely is for all of us to do our parts in trying to contain the virus. If your child or anyone in your household has been in contact with a person positive for COVID-19, it is important that they stay in isolation or quarantine at home. A person testing positive must isolate for 10 days from the positive test, and a person who is a household member of a positive person must quarantine 14 days after the positive person has recovered. If you have any questions about the time period you need to stay away from other people and not return to school, we would be glad to talk you through the guidelines. The Governor still has an executive order requiring all parents to notify the schools if their children test positive. Please continue to do this and also let us know if there is a positive case of COVID in your home. All information remains confidential.
We have spaced our desks very closely to 6 feet apart and are following all CDC guidelines and recommendations. We know, however, that there is always a chance that COVID will come into our buildings. If a student or staff member tests positive, we will be in contact with all those who will have to quarantine. It may be that a small group of students, an entire class, an entire grade, or larger population will have to return to remote learning for a time period to work through a quarantine. We ask for your patience and understanding in this process.
If the numbers in Lee County begin to escalate dramatically, we may switch back to remote learning for the following week or on a short notice depending upon the situation. One thing we have all had to learn to get better at during this pandemic is flexibility, and I personally want to thank our parents and families for the grace you have shown in being flexible throughout this entire school year.
Buses will run on normal schedules on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week but because the number of students will vary you should watch for your bus early and expect it may come later than usual. If you can transport your child to help us reduce the number of students on the buses, please continue to do so. Food deliveries will not take place but families whose children will remain on virtual learning may pick up food at either lunchroom.
If your child was coming in person in October or you scheduled for your child to come in person and you now want them to remain virtual but haven’t told school staff, please call and let us know tomorrow.
We all look forward to seeing our students next week.
To: Lee County Bobcat Families
I hope that all of our families had a relaxing two week break from school in December and have gotten back into the swing of school. We have been monitoring our numbers on the COVID-19 dashboard and they were pretty good at the first of the week but went up to 52.1 yesterday. In communicating with the regional health department, the 14 new cases that were added yesterday were in large part due to the regional jail. However, because the map uses data that is from when the cases are reported on the national system, we know this data is quite a bit behind our current case count. Our regional health director is very helpful in providing me with timely information regarding the status of cases in our county, and he has indicated that numbers have increased significantly since the first of the year. This was the prediction from the Christmas holiday and then, a week later, the New Year’s gatherings. Because the numbers are significantly up, we will be staying on remote learning this coming week.
This is a great disappointment to all of us. We have worked all week to communicate with families and get accurate counts of who wants to come back in person. We have spaced our desks correctly and have everything in place to be able to do school in the healthiest environment possible. But with the numbers of positive cases on the rise in our small community and the health department struggling to keep up with the cases due to the high volume, we feel like the safest thing to do at this time is to stay with remote learning.
In order to truly get a handle on this virus, we need everyone to follow the CDC guidelines of social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing. Gathering together with people outside your family in larger groups and being less than 6 feet apart is causing many to get the virus or quarantine. In order for us to help with the contact tracing of our students and staff, it is important for all cases involving our students to be reported. You can report positive cases of COVID-19 to Mr. Phillip Angel at central office or to the principals of the school. We also have attached a Google form that you can use to report positive cases or quarantines involving people in the household of one of our students. This information would help us greatly in determining whether or not we can have in person school.
We will continue to gather the data, look at the map, and communicate with our regional health department regularly and will make decisions based on all the data we have. I will let you know on Thursday of next week whether we can start back on January 19th or if we will postpone a little longer. Keep in mind that January 18th is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and there will be no virtual school that day.
Update on School For January, 2021
Tonight we are just one school day away from a well-deserved and needed break for families and staff. I want to let you know about our current plan for returning to in person learning after the break. The governor has recommended students do not return to in person learning until at least January 11th due to potential spread of the virus during the holiday, and we agree with this recommendation. Remote learning will pick back up on January 4, 2021, but we will not have in person learning or small group targeted assistance during that first week. We hope to return to in person learning on January 11th, but will have to make the final decision during the first week back once we see where Lee County is with the spread of the virus.
Over the break I’m sure that some of our students may catch up on missing work or finalize assignments that they weren’t able finish this week. Please know that teachers will review work that students make up when they return on January 4th, and don’t worry if you don’t see a quick response on questions or grades being entered into Infinite Campus. While all of our teachers and staff love helping our students and go above and beyond what we ask of them, I have asked them to try to take a break from their screens just as our students and parents need a break from theirs. This is a time for all of us to enjoy time with family, relax, and reflect on the blessings that we have even in this difficult COVID world we live in.
We are pleased with the number of cases of the virus being reported by the regional health department right now as they appear to be going down. We still need to hear communication from parents if your children have tested positive to the virus so that we can work to keep all students and staff safe when we are able to return to in person learning in January. We know the health department is overrun with a high caseload and we keep our own records of cases and try to assist in the contact tracing process so that we can keep known cases and contact with positive cases out of school a safe amount of time. If your child were to test positive or anyone in your home tests positive over the break please call my direct line at 606-464-5066 and let me know or send me an email. I will be in the office several days over the break and will receive voicemail if I happen to be out.
We appreciate everything that our families and community have done as we have worked together to educate the children of Lee County in a most difficult time. All of us in the Lee County Schools hope that everyone has a safe break and we look forward to seeing you in 2021!
Free Food Basket Program and School Next Week
I want to make all of our families aware of an opportunity to receive a free food basket for the holidays. This coming Saturday, December 12th, there will be a drive through food distribution at Cliffview Resort at the Zipline entrance. Families will receive a food basket with a turkey or ham and other food items for holidays. The event takes place from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and people will receive a basket on a first come first served basis. Everyone will have to stay in their vehicles and food will be brought to your car. This is for anyone in Lee and Wolfe County with a need for additional food and is sponsored by a group called Giving in the Gorge.
Lee County is still in the red on the state incident rate map and the governor’s executive order shutting down schools in counties in the red is still in place. Therefore, we will still be on complete remote learning this coming week. December 14th – 18th will be our last week before we have a much needed break for 2 weeks. It is extremely important for us to not become complacent with the guidance of the health department. We should all wash our hand regularly, wear our masks, maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet, and if we are sick or around anyone who is sick we should quarantine until we are symptom free for 24 hours without fever reducing medicine. Holidays are especially difficult because they are traditionally a time of gathering, and we need to take precautions to stay healthy and keep our family and friends healthy. Please continue to reach out to the schools, your children’s teachers, and our virtual program staff if your children are needing help with their work. It is our goal that all children are successful and we will do our best to help in any way.
Healthy at Home Utility Support
We want to make sure our families are aware of this help from one of our community partners. The Middle Kentucky Community Action Partnership supports this program in the Lee County area.
COVID-19 School Update for Week of Dec. 7- Dec. 11
I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and all are back in the routine of school. Our county incident rate has improved significantly from just two weeks ago when we were at our all time high. Tonight we are showing a rate of 77.2. This still puts us in the red category and according to the executive order issued by Governor Beshear does not allow us to have in person school next week. However, our principals will be working tomorrow to develop a plan for bringing in small groups of students who need additional help. It is important for you to follow the COVID-19 guidelines for quarantine. If your children have been around anyone who is known to have the corona virus, they must quarantine for 14 days after their last contact. Please do not send children in for small group instruction that are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to the virus in the last two weeks. As always, if you need additional help or have questions, please contact our schools and speak with the teachers or principals.
Tuesday Meal Deliveries Rescheduled to Wednesday
Due to the snow that fell last night and the icy condition of some of the roads, we will not be taking food on bus routes today. The routes that were supposed to be traveled today will be made up tomorrow. Thursday and Friday should be able to be delivered as planned.
Lunch Deliveries Start Tomorrow- Monday, Nov. 30
Please see the attached photos of our bus lunch delivery routes. Note the approximate time each bus will be at their first stop. The roads served by the buses are listed in the order traveled which may help you determine what time the bus will be at your child’s stop. When you see the bus or school van pull up outside your home or at your bus stop, please wear your mask and meet the drivers to get your food. Meals can still be picked up at either school on Monday and Thursday.
PLEASE NOTE THAT BUS 87 AND 102 START LATER EACH DAY THAN ALL THE OTHER BUSES.
If your child doesn’t ride a bus when we have in person classes and you want to receive food but you forgot to sign up, you can still do so and we will add you to the lists for future deliveries.
Parent, Student, and Community Input Needed
When we come back from Thanksgiving break we will have 3 more weeks of school before the winter break. We know that virtual learning is tough for many of our students and we have made changes along the way to make it better, but as superintendent I would like to hear from you to get input on things that are going well or things we need to improve upon. I am setting up a series of meeting times to meet with parents of students in grades K-5 and 6-12 separately so we can focus on school specific issues. I would also love to talk to students in grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 to find out how things are going from a student perspective. There is a Google form for parents and a separate one for students to pick a date and time to meet with me via Zoom meetings for anyone interested. I will have to have your name and email address in order to send the link to you for the meeting. However, if you don’t have email or you can’t meet and want to share your opinions, you can use this same Google form to do so.
Also, we are starting the work to develop what is called a “profile of a graduate.” This means we want to spell out what we believe every student who goes through our school system needs to know or be able to do when they graduate. We are interested in finding out the characteristics you believe every student should have by the time they are ready to walk across the stage. We are seeking the input of parents, community members, and students. Again, if you can’t meet, you can still provide input on the forms.
Please use the Google forms found on our district Facebook page or our website to sign up for a meeting time or provide us with your input. I will limit each meeting to about 25-30 guests so please sign up early. The Google forms will close on November 29 and the meeting links will be emailed on November 30 to those who want to participate. If you don’t have access to the Internet or email please also feel free to call me at 606-464-5066. If I am not available at the time you call you may leave your input on voicemail or leave your phone number and I'll get back with you.
Parent Meetings on Virtual Learning
Student Meetings on Virtual Learning
Parent/Student/Community Member Meeting on what we want our students to have when they graduate
School Next Two Weeks As you likely have heard, the Governor has placed new restrictions on school districts in the new executive order that he put in place last night. His order says that all schools must stay on remote learning until January 4, 2021 with the exception that elementary students can return to in person learning on December 7, 2020 if our county is orange on the map. Next week, we only have school Monday and Tuesday. These will both be virtual days and we are going to be extremely limited on bringing in small groups of students. Please do not plan to meet with teachers in our buildings Monday or Tuesday unless they have contacted you. Wednesday through Friday of next week is a break for staff and students to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. Please be careful as you celebrate the holiday so we can all stay safe and get back to learning in person as soon as possible.
During the week of November 30 through December 4 we will continue on virtual learning and will not have any small group instruction so families can keep their children at home and make sure there are not cases of illness that come up from gatherings on Thanksgiving. We will evaluate what we do for the next week depending on where our numbers are on December 3rd.
Additionally, all athletic practices will cease beginning tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. and will not start back until Monday, December 14th. This expectation was giving by KHSAA today and will be following through in our district. We hope our athletes will continue to condition at home and stay prepared to come in strong and healthy on the 14th.
Beginning on Monday, November 30, we are going to try something new to help get food out to families. We will be sending food out on 5 of our bus routes on Monday and then the remaining 5 routes on Tuesday. Drivers will drop off food at every bus stop they normally make and provide food for multiple days each time they come. They will repeat the routes Thursday and Friday. If your children were riding a bus before we went to complete remote learning the drivers will automatically stop at your children’s bus stop. If they weren’t riding a bus and you want food delivered on one of our routes, please complete the Google Form that is on our webpage and Facebook page or contact David Lyons by email at email@example.com
or by phone at 606-464-5071. If he isn’t available to answer just leave a message with your name, your phone number, how many children 18 and under are in your home, and your address so he can plan which route will take your food. We will be working next week to determine exactly which routes will be delivered which day and about what time you can expect the bus to run so you can make sure someone is there to get the food.
We are going to have to work together as a community to slow the spread of this virus. In looking at the map this evening, our number is 683.1, which is extremely high and is largely due to the numbers of cases at the prison being added to our daily average. However, we are also seeing some community spread and would ask our community to try hard to follow all the guidance provided by health officials regarding social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, and refraining from gathering in large groups in order to try to get our community back in a healthy range again.
We want to wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving break next week.
Sarah Wasson Superintendent
Update for the week of November 16- November 20
Lee County recently had a large increase in our incident rate on the KY COVID-19 map to 252.8. This is in large part due to a spike in cases at the local prison and we want to extend our thoughts and prayers out to the staff and inmates that are affected by this recent attack by the virus. With our number so high, we will be continuing virtual learning next week. However, we will continue to work in our small groups as planned by the schools. We want to keep all students and staff safe, so if your family has connections with anyone working in the prison we would ask you to hold off attending small groups until after Thanksgiving break. This would give the health department time to get a handle on the spread of the virus and reach out to those who need to quarantine. It will be important for our community to work together by wearing your masks in public places, not having large gatherings, and follow the guidance in our decision tree that was explained last week to determine if your child can come to the schools in small groups. The rise in cases in the state is concerning and, with the holidays coming up and more activities moving in doors, we all must do our part to help slow the spread of the virus.
We would like to remind you that lunch and breakfast may be picked up at either the elementary school or the middle high school on Monday or Thursday next week, and if your children are struggling with any of their work reach out to the schools and they will connect you with people who can assist you.
Thank you for your support through this challenging time.
Update for School for Week of Nov. 9- Nov. 13
We have moved back into the orange color on the Kentucky COVID-19 map, but all counties around us are red and additional testing is being done in our county. I have spoken with our regional health coordinator and we have decided that we will continue with virtual learning next week, but we will start to bring in individual students and small groups of students who need extra assistance. I have created a video explaining how long students must remain out of the schools if they have symptom of COVID-19 or if they have been in contact with household or non-household members who have tested positive for COVID-19. I also placed the decision tree on the Message from the Superintendent section of our district webpage. Please help us keep all staff and students healthy by following this guidance. We will continue to monitor the situation with cases in our community and all around us to make the best decisions possible on returning to school in person. Please continue to help slow the spread of the virus by wearing your masks in public places and maintain social distancing when you are around groups of people in public or private settings. We look forward to seeing some of our students next week and hope for a continued downward trend of the virus so we can bring back all of our in person students soon.
Meet Our Virtual Academy Team
Our district staff and Board of Education are committed to trying to make this virtual environment we are in work for our students and families. Right now all of our students are working on a virtual platform, but when we are able to come back to school in person, we still have over 350 students who will work virtually because their families feel it is best for their circumstances. We want to support all students, and have developed a Virtual Academy to be able to reach out to students and families and help in any way we can.
The team in our Virtual Academy is led by Mr. Phillip Angel, our district DPP. We also have Mr. James Dailey overseeing the plans to help the students at the elementary school and Mr. Joshua Broadwell overseeing the plans to help the students at the middle high school. We have hired two additional people to provide direct services and make phone contacts as well as home visits to families who are struggling with virtual lessons. Ms. Barbara Brownfield will be working with elementary students and Mr. Stephen Donithan will be working with middle high school students.
Our Virtual Academy does not assign separate work or replace the work that teachers assign the students, but will provide support in catching up and try to communicate with families the importance of staying caught up on their work. The team can schedule time with students and/or guardians to find out what the barriers are to being successful and help resolve the issues that may be causing students to get behind or fail their classes. They can hold individual Google Meets, make phone contacts, and soon will be setting up time to provide individual tutoring.
If families are struggling, please reach out to our Virtual Academy team who will be able to help answer your questions or connect with the teachers or people who can help get students back on track.
James Dailey- Elementary Dean- 606-464-5088
Barbara Brownfield- Elementary Intervention Instructor- 606-464-5084
Joshua Broadwell- Alternative Dean- 606-464-5197
Stephen Donithan- Middle High Intervention Instructor- 606-464-5083
Phillip Angel- Director of Pupil Personnel- 606-464-5064
Update For School for the Week of Nov. 2-Nov. 6
Our current number on the Daily Incident Rate map is 158.2 and, in speaking with our regional health coordinator, we will continue to work in a virtual environment this coming week. This number is slightly lower than it was yesterday, and that is encouraging. However, more tests were performed on Monday and more today, and those numbers are not necessarily reflected in the incident rate map at this time as the numbers on that map come from the national data counts.
I know the numbers and data are confusing. The Daily Incident Rate map is made up of data over a 7 day average and based on a population of 100,000. Our population is much lower than that, so a relatively small number of cases in our county will show up as a rather large number on this map. This map is the designation by the state based on CDC and health professionals to guide us in our determination of whether we have school in person or not, but it is not the only factor and it doesn’t just affect schools. When a county is red, the governor asks the entire community to focus on safety measures that will help the community reduce the number of cases.
I want to assure our community that we want our students in school. Our staff is working hard to make connections with our students and provide curriculum that meets the academic standards. However, we know it isn’t the same as being in person with our students and our students are missing out on socialization and activities. We may eventually go back to in person learning even with numbers on the map that are escalated, but the risk of doing it too soon, while our numbers are as high as they are, is that students and staff will transmit the virus, more people will be quarantined or become ill, and we could be shut down for a much longer period of time. If our entire community works together to help bring the numbers down, we will be in much better shape to come back in person and sustain in person learning for several weeks at a time.
We hope that everyone practices healthy social distancing guidelines for Halloween activities. Also, please note that Tuesday, November 3rd is Election Day and is not a school day. If you haven’t exercised your right to vote I encourage you to do so on or before Tuesday. We will update you next Thursday evening regarding the following week of school.
Update on School For Week of October 27-30
As we continue to monitor the cases of COVID-19 in our community, I want to reach out to you tonight to let you know that we will continue in an all remote learning environment this coming week. Our average daily incident rate as of right now is 42.5, keeping our county in red status. While many of our cases are directly related to the nursing home, the regional health department has established testing at our local health department facility, and it will take a bit of time to receive the results. There is not testing tomorrow, but testing will be set up again this Friday if anyone would like to be tested. In communicating with our regional health department leader, it is important for us to stay in a remote environment this week and give the community time to see where the cases stand. Next week we will reevaluate the local case count on Thursday evening at 8:00 p.m. and make a determination for the following week regarding in person classes.
Please continue to wear your mask when you are in public and maintain social distancing even when around your friends and family. In order to have school return to in person learning we need to be able to contain the virus as much as possible and lower our incident rate significantly. Our teachers and staff are continuing to reach out to individual students who are at risk of failing or are getting behind in their work and we will do everything we can to help our students. Please note the end of the first 9 weeks is tomorrow, October 22nd. Friday, October 23rd and Monday, October 26th are not school days for students, but these days would be good days to try to get caught up on missing work. If you have changed your mind about sending your child to in person classes and want to switch to complete virtual learning for the 2nd 9 weeks grading term, please reach out to your child’s school or Mr. Phillip Angel.
COVID-19 Update- October 19, 2020
We have added one student to our dashboard as testing positive for COVID-19 today. The student has been on virtual school since the beginning of the year so no other students have been impacted.
We thank our parents who are communicating with us and will continue to provide updates as they happen.
Update On COVID-19 Cases
I want to reach out to you and let you know I appreciate your support and understanding as we moved into a completely remote learning environment quickly this week. We have the state Department of Public Health map to guide us in our decision making and it is intended to be a system that we look at on Thursday evening and make a decision for the following week. However, this is just guidance and is not the only information we have. I worked closely with our Regional Health Department director and received some information on Wednesday indicating there were high levels of COVID-19 cases in our nursing home with both residents and staff. The numbers at that time were high enough that I felt it was in everyone’s best interest to switch quickly back to remote learning to allow the nursing home time to finish evaluating their situation and the health department time to gather the data and help make further decisions. We send our thoughts and prayers to all of those in the nursing home who have been affected.
We have had 3 students who have attended in person classes reported to our district today as testing positive for COVID-19. One student in 8th grade and one student in 5th grade have not been to in person classes since October 1st and due to the passage of time the health department does not feel as though there is any risk of exposure to any 8th or 5th grade student or staff. The third student is a 2nd grade student and has not been to in-person classes since October 8th . Again, the health department does not feel as though there is any risk of exposure but we have reached out to every family of every student in this child’s class to make them aware to monitor for symptoms.
I want to make sure all parents know where to find information regarding positive cases that are reported to the school system. I have created a link from the Superintendent Messages page of our district webpage that will take you to a site to find any district data. We are required to report to this website each day we have school how many student or staff cases there are and how many students or staff are quarantined due to exposure at school. We will always do our best to reach out individually to parents of students who have had potential exposure on the day that we get this knowledge. We will let you know when the student was last in person and where they may have been in contact. Because we have to report on students whether they were in-person or attending virtual, we may not always have phone calls to make, but we will also post this information the school dashboard linked on our webpage.
The Lee County Health Department is establishing a testing site on Monday and we will continue to monitor the cases with the regional health department to determine when it will be safe for us to return to in person classes. I will provide you with more information next week. Again, I thank you all for your support.