March 13, 2020
Dear Whitley County School District Families:
I am sending you this letter – in conjunction with the Kentucky Department of Education and the Kentucky Department for Public Health – to let you know some important information during the time your children will not be attending in-person classes.
Yesterday, Gov. Andy Beshear recommended all public and private schools close for at least the next two weeks to help control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) across Kentucky. Gov. Beshear said while children seem to be relatively safe from the virus, they are able to spread it and we are taking the steps necessary to protect all Kentuckians.
We are following the governor’s recommendation and closing in-person classes through March 27th. Our students will continue their classwork through the state’s Non-Traditional Instruction Program. Your student’s teachers have told them what kind of work they will be doing over the next two weeks and how to get in touch with them if they need help. We are encouraging our families to make sure their child is completing their work to help make sure education doesn’t stop.
Another important point to remember during this unprecedented time is the Kentucky Department for Public Health is asking all Kentuckians to stay away from large crowds, something known as social distancing.
We ask that you keep children from gathering with their friends at public places, such as the mall or the movies. This is most important for children with chronic diseases, such as asthma or diabetes, who are the most at-risk of catching COVID-19.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to it in the first place. Remember these tips from the Department for Public Health:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick (fever, cough, sneeze, and difficulty breathing). To avoid close contact, stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. To avoid coughing into your hands, you can cough into your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that wearing a facemask will not protect the public from COVID-19.
Here are some sources for more information that may be helpful to you and your family:
Thank you for your patience during this time.
Whitley County Board of Education
300 Main Street
Williamsburg, Kentucky 40769
Fax: (606) 549-7006
JOHN SILER, Superintendent
PAULA RICKETT, Deputy Superintendent
BRENDA HILL, Board Chair
J.E. JONES, Board Vice Chair
Good Evening Parents/Guardians, Students and Staff of the Whitley County School System:
As many of you have heard, in response to the spread of COVID-19, Governor Beshear has recommended that all school systems in Kentucky cease in seat classes for ten days beginning Monday, March 16th. He further recommended that school districts apply for non-traditional instruction (NTI) days to cover the closure. The approval of these NTI days will allow the schools to be closed without having to make the days up at a later date. The Whitley County School District has applied for the NTI days and assignments have been developed for our students. Tomorrow evening, Friday, March 13th, all Whitley County students will be leaving school with ten days of assignments.
Elementary students in grades PreK-6 will bring home ten packets. Students will be expected to complete one packet per day of school missed. Each packet has a cover sheet which lists the assignments to be completed. This content is meant to remediate and reinforce concepts that the students have already learned this school year. However, if the student has any questions about the assignments or is struggling to complete the packet, he or she should contact their teacher via email or through the Remind app if your child's teacher utilizes Remind. Our teachers will be available online from 8am-3pm each day that school is closed. The teacher's contact information will be included with the NTI packets. These packets will also be online at our district website www.whitley.k12.ky.us should you wish to access an electronic copy. We estimate that students will need to plan for 2-3 hours each day to complete the packet.
On the middle and high school levels we will be using our 1:1 Chromebooks to deliver assignments. It is NOT necessary for you to have internet access in order to do the assignments. Students will be bringing home the chrome books and a charger Friday evening. I would ask that you speak with your child about the responsibility of taking care of the Chromebook and the charger. It is expected that students will return to school when it resumes with the device in the same working condition that it was given to them. Assignments will be loaded offline to the Chromebook on Google and will be available in the student's downloads. Just as with the elementary assignments, these assignments are designed for reinforcement, remediation and/or enrichment of their current skills and will require little to no parent assistance. We estimate the middle and high school assignments to take between 3-4 hours to complete each day. Teachers will be available online Monday-Friday from 8am-3pm to provide assistance. High school students who are enrolled in dual-credit or AP classes will continue to work online as they have done all school year.
Our cafeteria staff will be working to provide a grab and go lunch. Food will be available at all schools except Whitley County High School, Whitley County Middle School and Whitley Central Primary School. Whitley Central Intermediate will be providing meals on main campus. Please feel free to drop by the school closest to your home between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm if you are interested in getting grab and go lunch for students.
Finally, all extra-curricular activities are also cancelled during this closure. This includes school-sponsored trips and athletic activities. I realize that this is a new experience for all of us and there are going to be many questions. We will have school personnel at each school and in our central office who will be available by phone and who will be able to provide guidance during this non traditional instruction period. Everyone stay safe and healthy and continue to watch our website and Facebook page for additional updates.