Kentucky offers plan to report virus cases affecting schools

Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration outlined a process Tuesday to publicly report COVID-19 cases affecting schools as the debate continues to swirl about when to resume in-person classes.

Beshear recently urged Kentucky’s K-12 schools to wait until Sept. 28 to restart in-person classes to give more time to bring a recent surge in virus cases under control. That means districts would start the school year relying on virtual learning.

Having drawn criticism from some local school officials, Beshear again urged patience Tuesday, noting a recent White House report showing high positivity rates for COVID-19 tests in about half of the state’s counties. Twenty Kentucky counties were in the red zone, showing a positivity rate of 10% or higher. Dozens more were in the yellow zone with 5%-to-10% positivity rates.

“This thing is so hot right now, we have to understand our limitations and have humility in how we address this virus,” the Democratic governor told reporters.

Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner, outlined the process to report coronavirus outbreaks affecting schools.

Once schools have identified new COVID-19 cases and the students and staffers involved, the schools then will notify the Kentucky Department for Public Health, he said. School officials will notify the school community. The state will issue a daily report on virus cases affecting schools, as it does for cases involving long-term care facilities.

The goal is to provide a transparent process that informs the public, Stack said.

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