JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio proposes new plan for returning to in-person school

Today Dr Marty Pollio held a press conference where he said that if Jefferson County’s number of cases continue to drop, students could see in-person classes as soon as Oct. 22.


Dr. Marty Pollio announces new plan for resuming in-person classes.

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said he cannot promise an official date for resuming in-person school at his press conference on Sept. 25.
However, if there is a decline in COVID-19 cases in Louisville, all JCPS students could be phased into in-person instruction by Nov. 2.
Right now, Jefferson County is in the orange category of COVID-19 cases, meaning there are 10-25 cases for every 100,000 residents. If the county moves toward the yellow category –– up to 10 cases per day per 100,000 residents –– and there is a steady trend downwards, students could begin going back to school.

This map shows the average number of cases per 100,000 people for September 23rd. Currently, Jefferson County is in the “orange” zone, meaning we would still have to lower cases to resume in-person classes. Photo from Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

There is not a definite number for the amount of days or weeks the county must be in the yellow zone for in-person schooling to begin.
“We would love to see our elementary school students return to in-person classes late October,” Pollio said.
He recommends for elementary school students to begin in person instruction on Oct. 22. A week later, 6th and 9th grade students would return on Oct. 29. Then by Nov. 2 the rest of the middle and high school students would return.
“We are looking for some consistency and trends where we know it’s heading in the right direction,” Pollio said.
Although Pollio would like for all students to be able to return to classrooms, he recognizes that some students and faculty have conditions that may make it safer to stay home.
“We will have a virtual option that is ready for any family who chooses not to send their child back to in person learning,” Pollio said.
This Virtual Academy will be similar to NTI, where students will be able to watch live instruction, but will better match the hours of in-person school.
He also recognized that there are still many challenges that JCPS faces with in-person schooling. Some of the biggest being transportation and high-risk students and teachers.
“We are at this time collecting data on those educators that need accommodation because they are in a high risk category, so we can have them teach in the Virtual Academy,” Pollio said.
Another major hurdle is making sure students and staff can safely social distance in the school building.
“1970s buildings were built very differently than buildings in the 2000s,” Pollio said. “You have small hallways, small classrooms, poor air ventilation: all of those are a challenge and I think our staff knows that uniquely.”
Regarding the protests in Louisville, Pollio ensures that in-person schooling should be safe for students if protests continue into October and beyond.
Despite these challenges, Pollio remains hopeful.
“We are committed to getting our kids back to school as soon as possible,” Pollio said. “We miss our students and we look forward to the day we can all come back together safely.”