SHEPHERDSVILLE — The buses are shined. The classrooms are sanitized. The thermometers have new batteries.
All that is missing has been the students. Gone since mid-March due to the COVID-19 virus, students in the Bullitt County Public School System will take their first steps back into the physical classrooms on Monday, Sept. 28.
However, the return to the school buildings will be a staggered one.
“We are ready,” said superintendent Dr. Jesse Bacon. “Almost everyone I’ve talked with is ready to get back in school.”
The first round of student return from the NTI or Virtual learning will be those in pre-Kindergarten through the second grade.
On Monday, Oct. 5, the next phase will bring back those in grades 3-6 and ninth grade.
The final phase will return on Tuesday, Oct. 20, as those in grades 7-8 and 10-12 will return to the school buildings.
Fall break will remain Oct. 12-17 and the Bullitt Day for teachers will be on Oct. 19.
Since announcing the return several weeks ago, Bacon said he is encouraged by the number of individuals who are certified to be substitute teachers. A temporary service has gotten bus monitors who will check temperatures as youngsters board the buses each day.
Bacon said the schools are the cleanest and most sanitary why will ever be. He credited the custodian staff at each school for a lot of hard work over the past few months.
Before opening, Bacon said he has been able to reflect on similar districts like Warren and Hardin counties, which have been open for several weeks. Those districts returned with a hybrid A/B system where students alternate the days of the week, similar to college settings.
He still likes the Bullitt County method of having students in class all week once they return.
So far, with staff inside the buildings, Bacon is proud that while there has been a few positive cases for the virus, none were transmitted within the schools.
He warned board members previously that there will be positive cases; however, the district has a plan to deal with any outbreaks, be it in a particular class, part of a building, school or across the district.
From transporting students to school to serving lunch to maintaining the sanitary levels, Bacon said everyone understands the various possibilities.
“We know there will be challenges,” said Bacon.
Getting the younger students who crave the social interaction of school is important. Students will wear masks while in the school building. Outside they will be allowed at times to go without masks if social distancing is practiced.
“I feel good about where we are at,” said Bacon. “But I know there are some students, parents and staff who will be worried.”
In terms of athletics, Bacon said the first two weeks of competition went well.
“The main thing is our kids are competing,” said Bacon.
Currently, seating is limited to 50 percent of capacity. He said the district would continue to look at possibly allowing more spectators down the road.
“Thanks to the community, we’re able to have these events,” said Bacon. “Everyone is complying with the guidelines.”
YouTube session Tuesday
Do you have questions? Would you like to hear more details about the plan to return to classrooms?
Bacon will host an open session on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 6:30 p.m. on the BCPS YouTube channel.