Kentucky schools for blind, deaf opening online for first six weeks due to COVID-19

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By Sky Carroll
sky.carroll@education.ky.gov

The Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville and Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) in Danville will begin classes Aug. 24, but will offer their first six weeks through non-traditional instruction (NTI) only, education officials announced July 27.

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) approved the plan for KSB based on Jefferson County Health Department guidance, KSB Principal Peggy Sinclair-Morris said in a letter to families.

The full NTI plan will be available to all families and instructional plans for children will be provided before Aug. 24, she said.

The school plans to resume in-person instruction Oct. 5. At that date nears, KDE officials will reevaluate the situation in consultation with area health departments.

The Kentucky School for the Deaf could reopen for in-person instruction Oct. 12, following a one-week fall break, depending on Boyle County Health Department guidance, KSD Principal Toyah Robey said in a letter to families.  

“When we are permitted to return to campus, KSD will provide details in advance of our Healthy at School procedures to ensure the safety of our students and staff when on campus,” she wrote. “It is critical that all comply with these guidelines to safeguard the health and welfare of everyone.”

Interim Commissioner of Education Kevin C. Brown issued a memorandum on June 24 allowing districts to use unlimited NTI days during the 2020-2021 instructional year, suspending the usual 10-day cap. It also decoupled school funding calculations from this year’s in-person attendance numbers, due to the possibility of intermittent school building closures for COVID-19 outbreaks.

Guidance on NTI and tracking student participation in lieu of attendance was issued July 20.

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