Schools Will Remain Closed For Rest Of Year

Coronavirus Update For Monday, April 20

Image: Wallygva, via Wikimedia Commons.

Robert Moore

Herald Staff

[email protected]

Kentucky public schools will remain closed for the rest of the year.

Gov. Andy Beshear made the official announcement during his Monday afternoon briefing. Beshear informed school superintendents during a group call earlier on Monday, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Students will continue their education at home through distance learning plans. State education officials will work with school districts to finish distance learning by the end of May, although some could finish earlier.

The majority of schools across the nation have closed classrooms until next year as states take action to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

More than 600,000 Kentucky students have been out of school since mid-March, when Beshear first recommended closures. The closures were first extended to April 20, and then to May 1.

In addition, Kentucky has canceled standardized testing scheduled for May. Other tests typically held in May, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, have been moved online or canceled, according to the Courier-Journal.

The governor said seniors being able to attend either a prom or graduation this year was “unlikely.”

“I know for many this is hard,” said Beshear, who said his son was set to graduate elementary school.

“It’s not fair,” he said. “This shouldn’t have to be asked of you, but it is.”

At the briefing, Beshear was asked about the possibility of holding a graduation ceremony as long as everyone practices social distancing.

“We’re looking at virtual options,” the governor said. He said a drive-in ceremony was also a possibility. He called on the public to offer solutions.

“I look forward to all the creativity we will see,” Beshear said.

In Mercer County, there are currently 11 confirmed cases, according to the Mercer County Health Department. The tenth case, a woman aged 18-29, is a close contact to another active case. The other case is a woman aged 50-59. Both patients are recovering at home, according to the health department.

The governor provided COVID-19 statistics for the rest of Kentucky at his briefing. On Sunday, Kentucky recorded its biggest single day increase in confirmed cases—273. On Monday, only 102 new cases were recorded. Beshear said the lower number was because some labs—including the biggest in Kentucky—were closed Sunday. That raises the state’s total to 3,050 confirmed cases, minus duplications. In addition, six new deaths were announced, raising the state’s toll to 154.

So far, 1,134 people have recovered, the governor said.

Across the globe, there are now 2.4-million confirmed cases, with nearly a third of them—782,159—here in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 169,794 deaths worldwide, with 35,012 deaths here in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins. Almost one tenth of the people diagnosed so far–70,337–have recovered.

The state has created a hotline (1-833-GIVE PPE) and website (giveppe.ky.gov) to streamline the donation process. In addition, PPE donations can be accepted at all 16 Kentucky State Police posts and at Transportation Cabinet offices in Louisville and Lexington.

Callers can reach the Kentucky COVID-19 Hotline at 1-800-722-5725, visit the Kentucky COVID-19 website at kycovid19.ky.gov or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

The Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet has established the Team Kentucky Fund, an online platform to provide financial help to Kentuckians whose employment is affected by the coronavirus. The governor challenged those who are able to help to make a tax-deductible donation to the fund. In addition, a website portal has been created to streamline the process for businesses looking to donate supplies and services for Kentuckians in need.

The state has also created the COVID-19 Reporting Hotline (833-597-2337) that will investigate complaints about non-compliance with coronavirus mandates. Labor Cabinet personnel will monitor the hotline from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET. There is also a new state website Kentuckians can visit to make online complaints kysafer.ky.gov.

Each day at 5 p.m. ET, Gov. Beshear holds briefings broadcast on local KET station WKLE 46 and online at his Facebook and YouTube page.

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