School Board photo

Dr. Andy Belcher, director of assessment for Hopkins County Schools, talks to the Hopkins County Board of Education at their meeting on Monday regarding the new program in place to keep parents and the public informed on COVID- positive cases in the school.

The Hopkins County School Board approved an override to a Kentucky High School Athletic Association bylaw, which waived the requirement for students to be “on schedule” to graduate at the beginning of the year to participate in sporting activities.

The amendment was added during the summer by the KHSAA, but the board has decided to remove that waiver for the upcoming winter sports.

“Essentially, the way we were operating last year is the way we are going to operate from the winter sports season forward,“ said Marty Cline, assistant superintendent for Hopkins County Schools.

Though no official action was taken in regards to the Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Department for Public Health’s new color-coded COVID-19 metric for ranking the risk factors of infections in counties, Cline said Hopkins County will continue to follow those guidelines moving forward.

The new metric ranks counties as green, yellow, orange or red based on the number of active cases per 100,000 residents. In-person classes and sports are allowed in the first three categories, although the KDE recommends remote learning only in orange counties.

Hopkins County has been fluctuating between yellow and orange in recent days

If a county crosses into the red group, the KDE says that only remote learning is allowed and that sporting events must be canceled. This would include both home and away games.

The new metric, however, is based on a seven-day rolling average of daily new cases within a county.

The metric places any county with a rate above 25 cases per 100,000 as a “red county.” With a seven day rolling average, that number can change fast, with a relatively large or small number of new cases on just one or two days capable of moving a county up or down within the ranking system.

In Hopkins County, for example, the magic number is a daily average of 11 new cases in a seven day period. If that number is reached, that would give the county a per 100,000 rate of 24.6. As of Friday, the local seven day average was 4.4 cases per day, or 9.84 cases per 100,000. Rounded up to 10, that places Hopkins County in the orange group.

Madisonville North Hopkins had two soccer matches with Caldwell County canceled last week after Caldwell was deemed a “red” county. Other changes to sporting events have also taken place.

Superintendent Dr. Deanna Ashby said a total of 6,348 students are participating remotely and in-person this school year, which is about 120 student less than last year.

In other news, the board:

• held a public hearing before the regularly scheduled board meeting for the community members to ask questions about the general tax levy on real property and personal property.

“These are the same rates as last year,” said Eydie Tate, finance director for the Hopkins County Board of Education.

The tax levy was approved by the board during the regular meeting along with a bid for a surplus Ford van and the Madisonville North Hopkins High School tennis court project. An agreement with the Hopkins County Fiscal Court for school resource officers was also approved.

• approved during the meeting were school activity fundraisers, demolition of the Old Hopkins County Career and Technology Center, replacement for the Grapevine Elementary cooling tower and approving Grapevine Elementary to apply for a grant to be used for technology and school grounds.

• approved the treasurer’s report given by Tate, leaves of absences, invoice payments VSP Insurance renewal for the 2020-2021 school year, the 2020-2021 working budget, non-resident pupil contracts with school districts and increased the number of days and pay category for computer training specialist job from 200 days to 260 days and the pay category from 3A to category 2.

The next scheduled board meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 2.

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