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School board approves Aug. 26 as first day of NTI classes

Fayette County Public Schools will officially start the 2020-21 school year on Wednesday, Aug. 26, after a unanimous vote of the Fayette County Board of Education. But the districts’ more than 42,000 students will start their first day at home. “I want our children back in school,” Superintendent Manny Caulk said, “but not at the expense of health and safety.” 

On the heels of record numbers of COVID-19 cases in Lexington and across Kentucky, Fayette County will resume classes with Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI). “My hope is that our community will double-down on efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 so that it will be safe to return to in-person instruction soon,” Caulk said.

A task force of more than 120 students, families, teachers, health officials, principals, and district leaders have worked since April to prepare for the upcoming school year. Their plan – Reenvisioning, Reimagining and Renewing – provides options for families and flexibility for school and district leaders to respond quickly as the status of COVID-19 changes. In a nutshell, district leaders will consult with the Lexington Fayette-County Health Department to determine the safest model for instruction. Depending on current levels of infection in the community, students may attend school in person, participate in non-traditional instruction, or be divided into smaller groups that rotate between in person and distance learning. The district will also have a completely virtual option for families who do not want to send their children to campus at all during the first semester.

The task force released its planning document July 27 outlining detailed health and safety protocols for a return to campus, plans for food service and transportation, new supports and services for families, and an overview of improvements coming to distance learning. “Our district has made significant investments to ensure that the distance learning offered this fall will different than it was last spring,” Caulk said. “Under ‘NTI 2DL: Differentiated Distance Learning,’ students will have more time with their teachers, more direct instruction, and more consistency.” 

Chromebooks have been purchased so that every student will receive one and will have access to digital curriculum programs, making Fayette County Public Schools a 1-to-1 school district. The district will continue to provide hotspots to families who do not have internet access.

“In the future, when we look back on the 2020-2021 school year, we don’t want to think of COVID-19 as something that just happened to our district,” Caulk said. “We want to remember it as a time when we took the opportunity to reimagine education and improve the way we serve students and families.”


2020-21 instructional calendar 

Back to School 2020-21 with instructional models; FAQ; the Reenvisioning, Reimagining, and Renewing booklet; the July 27 presentation to the school board, and more

(Posted July 28, 2020)

Lisa Deffendall, district spokeswoman
(859) 699-1441