LEXINGTON, Ky. — The school year for Fayette County Public Schools starts August 26, with more than 40,000 students expected to participate in at-home learning.

What You Need To Know

  • Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk says its not safe for kids to be in school yet

  • Caulk wants teachers and students back in class, but says cases must drop

  • Says district is prepared with technology so no child is left behind

  • Classes start August 26

“It’s just not safe.” That’s the reasoning FCPS Superintendent Manny Caulk shared why students will be starting the academic school year off in just a couple of weeks, with at-home learning, due to ongoing coronavirus concerns.

“Our goal is to get our students in the classroom and one of our core beliefs is victories in the classroom and so that's our focus, that's that's a priority for us,” says Caulk

Classrooms across Kentucky have been empty since mid-March of this year and it will remain that way for many school districts, including Fayette County, for the foreseeable future. Superintendent Caulk says while he wants to see students and teachers return to a traditional in-person classroom model, he says the exact timing of that decision will be based on several factors including science and how long it takes coronavirus cases in Fayette County to start to drop.

"We'll continue to monitor the conditions on the ground and if we, and this is a plea to our entire community. We have to change our behaviors. We all want our children in school. In order for that to happen, we must wear our masks, we must continue to social distance, to wash our hands and use sanitizer, to make sure that we're healthy, and that those who are loved ones are healthy as well because of the actions that we're willing to take. If we could do that, and we can reduce the spread from substantial moderate to little to no spread. Then, we'll have our children back in school. and that's what we all want, but it starts with us,” adds Caulk.

Next week, teachers at Fayette County’s 55 elementary, middle and high schools will report back to their classrooms to receive additional training on how to implement non-traditional instruction and how to engage students through remote learning. 

“We're looking at making sure its grade-appropriate assignments and also making sure that we are teaching strong instruction. So those are the areas that we're going to emphasize, that's the area that came out of our staff survey, if you will, our all-employee survey. and that's the biggest area that we want to grow and improve upon,” explains Caulk

While the start of the school year will be anything but normal, Caulk says he is confident that Fayette County Public Schools is at the forefront of technology and has the digital resources to ensure students don't fall behind, while participating in online learning.

“What we've done here, in short order, is to take a district fully one to one and that's one student per device. If your family needs assistance in connecting to the internet, we have hotspots as well. So that closes the digital divide and that's important because we know here in Fayette County, roughly 60% of our children are living in poverty. And what we don't want, is that digital divide that barrier, to create an equal learning opportunities or experiences for our students,” says Caulk

Fayette County’s Board of Education plans to release new details about the curriculum plan for non-traditional instruction for K-12 students, in the coming days.