Schools To Reopen Sept. 3
Families in Mercer County are struggling with how to handle the upcoming school year. Thursday, Sept. 3, is the Mercer County School start date but with confirmed cases of COVID-19 increasing in the county, many parents have expressed concern not just with the changes to the school year but the uncertainty that comes with changing government guidelines. Administrators at Mercer County schools say they are trying to address those concerns in multiple ways.
“We have a dedicated webpage specifically to address questions from parents about all the new options,” said Dennis Davis, superintendent of Mercer County Schools. “The website for questions is www.mercer-school.com and parents are encouraged to email questions to [email protected]”
In addition to the website, Davis plans to hold a Facebook live question and answer session on both Wednesday and Thursday.
Wednesday’s session will be about in-person school and Thursday’s will be about the online academy, Davis said.
“We want to assure our families. Although this school year will be different, we are striving to provide a safe educational environment for our students,” he said. “We understand the concern and are seeking alternative ways for students to achieve academic success within Mercer County Schools.”
The district will provide students with access to an accredited online program, according to a press release.
“Staff will be assigned to monitor students’ progress and to provide technical support to students,” Davis said. “Students will need access to internet to participate in this option. Students choosing this option will be allowed to participate in all extracurricular school activities including sports.”
He said Trailblazer Career Academy students opting for the online instruction may continue to take in-person classes at the academy. Bus transportation may not be provided, depending upon the course start/stop time, he said. Student drivers will be allowed to drive themselves and park in the King Middle School parking lot.
Parents can preview the interface using a link provided on the Facebook page and the website.
Traditional in-person construction will also be provided.
“It will be five days a week. Students will wear masks when social distancing requirements can’t be met,” Davis said. “Procedures will be in place for times when students/teachers are quarantined but able to continue receiving/providing instruction. Titan Learning Days will be used when an entire school or the district is not in session.”
He said the parent survey showed 30 percent of respondents indicated that they are interested in the Online Academy.
“This will reduce the number of students in the buildings and on the buses,” said Davis. “The week of July 27-31, we will provide a Google form for families to make a final decision. If, at that time, we realize fewer families have committed to the Online Academy, we will implement a hybrid option of two in-person days and three virtual days.”
It is important all families fill out the Google form to allow the school to plan for students, he said.
Other guidelines include:
School Start/End Times:
Mercer Central: 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mercer Elementary, Mercer Intermediate, King Middle School and Mercer County Senior High: 8 a.m.-3:45 p.m.
COVID-19 Attendance Policy Updates
There may be extended periods of time when children have to stay at home because they are sick or come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and the Health Department has instructed them to quarantine.
- If a child is sent home from school with a fever, they are excused from school for 72 hours. Parents are asked to get children tested for COVID-19 test as soon as possible.
- A doctor’s statement will be needed prior to the student returning to school.
- Parents will need to communicate with the school nurse, who will update the attendance clerk on when the child will be able to return to school.
- Students will be excused from school attendance for these absences.
- Students will be responsible for instruction and assignments missed while they were out.
- Students that feel well enough will have the ability to log onto class and participate online.
- If internet is not available, parents/students will need to contact the school to make arrangements to pick-up paper copies. Students will be asked to submit work electronically once they return to school.
There could be multiple times throughout the year that the health department notifies the district that a student or staff member that has tested positive for COVID-19. When this occurs, the entire district may need to be closed until the health department has completed their contact tracing protocol.
To assist the health department, the school system will provide with classroom seating charts, bus seating charts, student schedules and contact information.
This information will allow the health department to quickly notify families that they have come in contact with another person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
For a complete look at the back to school plan visit the Mercer County Schools website at mercer.kyschools.us or follow their Facebook pages.