Kentucky governor recommends schools postpone in-person classes

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) recommended on Monday that schools postpone in-person classes until Sept. 28.

Beshear issued his recommendation for K-12 schools during a press briefing, citing an overall increasing number of cases over the past five or six weeks and a growing infection rate among children in the state. The governor avoided mandating the delay in an executive order. 

The Kentucky governor acknowledged in a statement that the state has “taken good steps” but maintained “we do not have control over this virus.”

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“We do not have control over this virus,” he said. “And to send tens of thousands of our kids back into in-person classes when we don’t have control of this virus, it’s not the right thing to do for these kids, it’s not the right thing to do for their faculty and it’s not the right thing to do as Governor.”

The governor also pointed to coronavirus “surges” in Georgia and Indiana as schools returned in recent weeks and to Kentucky families continuing to go on vacation in states like South Carolina and Florida, where daily counts of cases have remained high.

"In my very core, I want us to get back to in-person instruction, but to ask our kids to go in with all our teachers and faculty at a time when it's not safe, it's something that we can't ask of them, and I'm not willing to," Beshear said during the press briefing.

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Originally, the governor delayed schools reopening until the third week of August. The state’s guidance requires students in first grade and up to wear masks and for all students to have their temperatures checked and remain socially distant, the Louisville Courier Journal reported

The Kentucky Education Association said last week that public schools should only reopen in-person if the statewide positivity rates stay below 4 percent, according to the newspaper. Beshear reported Monday that the rate was at 5.71 percent Monday.

Kentucky experienced its highest single-day increase in new cases in two weeks on Saturday with 801 new cases, the Courier Journal reported. The state currently has a seven-day average of 621 cases per day, according to The New York Times.

The governor also said during the press conference that the state’s data provider had not fully reported all of the case numbers before Kentucky reported its total number of cases from last week.