COVID-19 Considerations for Reopening Schools: Library Media Center and Class Sizes in Virtual Programs and Courses

By Jim Gaines

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released two new COVID-19 guidance documents on Aug. 10, one on setting class sizes and the other on operation of school libraries.

The “Class Sizes in Virtual Programs and Courses” guidance details appropriate student-teacher ratios for virtual learning courses to ensure the most effective instruction. It also describes how to set class sizes in schools with site-based decision-making (SBDM) councils, and how to seek class size exemptions for schools without SBDMs.

Gov. Andy Beshear said on Aug. 4 that he supports schools beginning the academic year with online-only non-traditional education (NTI) due to worrisome rates of COVID-19 infection. He recommended that schools wait until at least the third week of August before resuming in-person instruction.

The “Library Media Center” guidance covers staff preparation, social distancing and sanitation, operation during in-person instruction and during NTI, and related guidance and resources.

KDE has been issuing guidance documents on aspects of school reopening since May 15. The two latest documents bring the total to 21, including the flagship Healthy at School guidance issued June 24 and updated Aug. 3 based on the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).