OPS announces virtual learning will take place until October 2

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — Following a recommendation from Governor Andy Beshear that all Kentucky schools to wait to begin in-person instruction until at least September 28, Owensboro Public Schools announced Tuesday they will do virtual-only learning until at least October 2, which is the last day before Fall Break.

Superintendent Matthew Constant says students who were enrolled in the in-person A-B model reopening plan approved last month will now do distance learning Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday, like in the previous plan, will be similar to a teacher work day. Students will have assignments to do, and teachers will be available to help students and answer questions.

The OPS Virtual Academy will continue for students throughout the first semester. Constant says both the A/B model and the Virtual Academy are full, so students cannot switch to a different option.

“It seemed that since March 13th, school districts have been programmed to change, change, and change again,” said Supt. Dr. Matthew Constant.

Districts like Owensboro Public Schools are making another change about two weeks before their school year begins, going to all virtual instead of their A-B model, which they originally approved last month. Dr, Constant says having their virtual academy set up helps with the change, but they still need laptops in students hands before the first day.

“We intend to get them into the hands of those students either the first day of learning or pretty close to that. Then our teachers will transition to teaching with those devices knowing the students will have them at home,” he said.

Daviess County, Hopkins County, Union County and other districts are also starting entirely online after Gov. Beshear made his recommendation yesterday. He said the decision was made because cases had spiked, increased infections among children and experiences of schools and families in other states traveling to COVID hotspots despite health officials warnings.

”They don’t know how many people it’s going to affect. It’s affecting millions right now. There’s nothing they can do about it,” says Jessica Presson of Owensboro, when asked about the recommendations from Gov. Beshear.

“I think they need normal. They need to interact with their peers. Being isolated is not good for them,” says Brian Newton, whose grandchildren attend OPS.

As for fall sports, Dr. Constant says they’re still expected to happen as of now, but that the KHSAA is expected to meet later this month and there could be more guidance on what school districts should do.

The district still plans to let families know on September 18 about their plans for learning following Fall Break.

Meals will be provided at each OPS school for students Monday-Friday from 11:30-12:30, with the exception of Labor Day on September 7 and Fall Break on October 5-6.

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(This story was originally published on August 11, 2020)

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