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Ludlow Schools Prepare for Variety of Possibilities for Next School Year

Ludlow Independent Schools is working on its application for non-traditional instruction (NTI) for the next school year, as required by the Kentucky Department of Education, even though hope remains that classes will resume normally at some point.

Ludlow's College and Career Readiness Coordinator Jennifer McMillen told the Ludlow board of education that the application is full of questions that are specific about the programs and training that would have to occur if the school would be required to do NTI. 

The questions ask how the district will prepare, how special needs students will be accommodated, and which local groups and businesses would the district affiliate with to help with needs during the special circumstances. 

The groups would be similar to the Freestore Foodbank, Cincinnati Bell, Duke energy, and the NKY Health Department.

Superintendent Michael Borchers told about the instructions from the state so far on reopening the schools, saying that he had sixteen pages of what they recommend can be done and what can't be done.  

He said that the state asked the district to come up with different calendars as options of how to open school and when, but Borchers told the board that he wants to stick to the calendar that everyone had agreed on before the shut down as much as possible. 

However, many of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's suggestions on what should happen in schools are not easily met, such as having no congregation of students, which Borchers said they have to work with because at their schools students congregate in the cafeteria before they go to their classrooms.  

Another suggestion is having lunch in the classroom, and another is to have everyone, including students, wear face coverings all day.  

Borchers said that the amount of children allowed in classrooms with social distancing is a big problem, because a normal class of 25 students and their desks would not fit into a classroom if they have to be six feet apart.

That could result in staggered start times, or having half the student body learn at home.

Another issue is changing classes in high school, with one possibility to have students stay in classrooms and have teachers rotate in and out to teach different subjects.

Borchers said that there has to be a definite method for contact tracing, through which someone exposed to COVID-19 can go through all of the potential people that they may have exposed. 

There also has to be a "healthy at work" officer. 

Borchers said that there is a district task force working on all contingencies. 

The application for NTI was approved by the board.

The board also approved the tentative working budget, and Superintendent Borchers said they will have an in-depth discussion on the budget in July, so that by September they will have a final budget.

There is $86,000 budgeted in the capital projects for smaller projects to accomplish during the summer months, and the board agreed to keep it in the budget in case they need to use it this summer.

Superintendent Borchers said that he would like to have next month's meeting at the board meeting room, open to the public.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor