During a special called meeting Tuesday night, the Hopkins County Board of Education unanimously approved the inaction of provisions outlined in Kentucky Senate Bill 177, which was unanimously passed by both the House and the Senate Monday and signed by Gov. Andy Beshear yesterday.

The bill helps schools institute a new plan of action for its employees and students. It grants an unlimited amount of Non-Traditional Instruction days for schools and postpones all K-PREP tests for the remainder of the school year.

The board’s approval gives Supt. Dr. Deanna Ashby the ability to act for the board when implementing the provisions from the national state of emergency.

The Board approved its new staffing plan in relation to SB177, which outlines that all certified and classified staff are on-call between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Teachers will respond to students and parents during this time. Support personnel may be called to help with essential services, such as answering phones, preparing or delivering food, helping at the central office, responding to family needs or helping with NTI functions as needed by individual school leadership.

“We’ve got to change the way we do business,” said Ashby. “You take everybody that’s involved on a normal school day, and suddenly, their role changed, so we have to find their place in the puzzle and how they fit.”

According to the new staffing plan, SB 177 has also granted school employees additional emergency days. The district has previously given three days for emergency leave. Now, staff members are allowed additional days if they are subject to a federal, state or local quarantine, if they have been advised to self-quarantine or if they are caring for someone in quarantine. They can also receive additional days if they seek a COVID-19 diagnosis or identity as part of the CDC’s high-risk health category.

“Our role is changing, and our method of delivery is changing across the board,” Ashby said.

During the meeting, Board member Dr. J.W. Durst asked if there was any more information regarding school closures.

Ashby told him the Governor asked superintendents to plan for six weeks of NTI.

“According to KDE interim commissioner Kevin Brown, that takes us to May 1,” Ashby said. “So the question is, are we going to go back to school after May 1? Well, we can’t answer that, we don’t know,” Ashby said.

In other news:

• the district is feeding over 1,800 students breakfast and lunch through the Hopkins County Lunch programs. Ashby projects to feed over 2,000 per day by the end of the week.

• the district delivered close to 500 Back Pack Blessings last week.

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