Paducah Public Schools will begin the school year with a Level 3 COVID-19 mitigation strategy due to a surge of COVID cases due to the Delta variant. The Level 3 strategy follows Governor Beshear's Executive Order on August 10 requiring that all Kentucky public school students, staff, and visitors wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. The first day of school for students is Wednesday, August 18, 2021.
A Level 3 mitigation strategy will require that all students (ages preschool through grade 12), staff and visitors wear a mask or face coverings that cover their nose and mouth at school, on the bus, and on district property when indoors. This includes all back-to-school and extracurricular events.
In addition to masking, the district will use the effective mitigation strategies outlined for all three phases of our school reopening plan. Proper mask use, combined with social distancing measures will also aid the district in preventing the quarantining of our students, staff, and visitors. The district's complete plan can be seen here. The Team Kentucky Guidance for K-12 School Operations for In-Person Learning can be found here.
"The common ground that we all can agree upon is that it is essential to have children present at school five days a week," said Superintendent Dr. Donald Shively. "Having our students at school gives them the best opportunity to learn and grow socially and emotionally. The school day structure gives their families the time and space needed to do their work. District leadership is focused on ensuring we take the necessary steps to accomplish the goal of having our students at school and at school activities."
Dr. Shively stressed that vaccinations continue to be the most effective strategy to keep students in school, since students and staff who are vaccinated do not have to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID-19.
"While we are all frustrated and disappointed with the current predicament with the pandemic, the best way out of this is for more people to get vaccinated," Shively said. "This will help us keep our students in school."