Laurel County School District is looking to begin the 2020-2021 school year on Aug. 6.
A fully detailed plan was to be released later this week after health officials approved the plan, but during Monday's Laurel Board of Education meeting, the five school board members amended calendar for the upcoming school year - one that excludes Sept. 25 as an out of school day. Formerly that day was set aside due to school cancellations for the annual World Chicken Festival. But with the coronavirus pandemic resulting in this year's downtown festival being canceled, classes will be held on that day. That amended calendar also includes Fall Break, Christmas Break and Spring Break in addition to the Labor Day, Thanksgiving, New Year and Martin Luther King Jr. holidays. That plan will put the last day of school for May 11, 2021.
The Laurel County plan is similar to the safety precautions outlined by the East Bernstadt School District - social distancing, temperature checks before boarding buses or being dropped off at schools, wearing of masks in the school, additional sanitizing and cleaning procedures and social distancing. The option of Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) and online classes are also an option as well as in-person attendance.
Board members also elected a new chairman and vice-chair, voting John Begley as chair and Ed Jones as vice chair. The meeting dates of the school board were also approved - remaining the same as in the past with meetings held every second and fourth Monday at 5 p.m. in the Central Office meeting room. The exception to those dates will be when those days fall on a holiday.
Superintendent Dr. Doug Bennett also gave an update on the construction at Hunter Hills Elementary, stating that the final layer of asphalt, floor and ceiling tiles and other areas were nearly complete and would "be ready for school to start."
Board members also approved several routine issues for the upcoming school year, including the Student Code of Conduct and Acceptable Behavior that incorporated new safety measures such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
Also approved during Monday's meeting was the creation of new positions in the school district. Those included: full-time agriculture teacher at South Laurel High School, teaching position at Hunter Hills, Title I teacher at Camp Ground Elementary, primary teacher at Cold Hill, elementary school counselor to service Johnson and Hunter Hills elementary school for half time at each school to supplement the current elementary school counselor, and a school nurse position. Recreated positions approved were: food service director position for the school district, classified mental health counselor at Laurel County Day Treatment, elementary P.E. teacher for the district, special needs assistant positions at South Laurel High School, school psychologist for the district and health science teacher at Center for Innovation (CFI). Fifteen Emergency Certified substitute teachers were also approved for hire and 15 certified positions for up to 12 days for preschool screenings scheduled for July 13 through July 28.
Other actions included approval of:
• Memorandum of Agreement with Kentucky Educational Collaborative for state agency children (KECSAC) for Laurel County Day Treatment in the amount of $73,000 grant money;
• Steele Reese Foundation grant for $21,000 to purchase books for Colony Elementary library;
• Athletic Handbook for 2019-2020 school year;
• Memorandum of Agreement with Berea College for GEAR Up Grant and budget for 2020-2021 school year;
• Professional Services Agreement with Catholic Charities of Louisville for 2020-2021 year;
• Teaching Strategies LLC Online Services Agreement for upcoming school year;
• Unite Service Corp memorandum of agreement of understanding for 2020-2021 year; and
• Clinical Behavior Analysis (CBA) for upcoming school year