Kentucky schools, restaurants and bars are headed back into a temporary lockdown following directives from Gov. Andy Beshear at a press conference on Wednesday.
The announcement came one day before Kentucky reported 3,649 new infections on Thursday, a new daily high, and 30 new deaths, the second-most reported in a single day since the pandemic began in March. As of Thursday, Kentucky had recorded 148,390 cases, 1,742 deaths and a 9.18% positivity rate, with 25,437 recovered, according to the Kentucky Department for Public Health.
Only eight out of Kentucky’s 120 counties were not marked red on the state’s map for a “critical” spread of at least 25 positive cases per 100,000 people.
One of those not in the red zone was Trimble County, but the district still has to shift students and teachers to online learning for the rest of the semester through January, per the governor’s orders. Bedford and Milton Elementary School students can return to the physical classroom starting Dec. 7 if Trimble County is not in the red zone and follows state guidance, according to the governor’s order.
Trimble Superintendent Jessica Wilcoxson called Thursday “a disheartening day in the district.”
Wilcoxson said Trimble was ready to switch gears back the virtual learning model it used early in the school year before starting in-person classes in September, from making student accommodations to providing meals to virtual learning, but not for the emotional reaction.
“There seemed to be a bit of a defeated energy, just because we’ve been so thankful to have our kids back in person and have seen a lot of growth in the past eight weeks,” Wilcoxson said, adding that the county has managed to handle the virus fairly well and keep rates under control.
Just like in August, the district will still be allowed to bring in small groups of high school and junior high students to do work and get help from instructors in person.
Wilcoxson said to her knowledge the district does not have any active cases, but a few students and staff members are still in quarantine due to exposure.
Trimble will also have to put on hold basketball and other sports seasons dan practices effective Friday at 5 p.m. under a directive from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association. The girls and boys high school basketball team seasons will be delayed until Jan. 4.
The superintendent added that most Trimble County students, including her daughter, are worried another temporary shutdown might lead to virtual learning for the rest of the year just like last spring.
“The fear is ‘Here’s March all over again,’ ” she said.
Carroll County Schools will also close per the governor’s order, the district announced in a Facebook post.
“We are very disappointed and saddened to say that our schools will be transitioning back to distance learning,” Superintendent Danny Osborne said in a release. “As I said earlier on Wednesday, our intention was to remain open as long as the spread of COVID within our schools remained low. That being said, I do understand where Gov. Beshear is coming from with this directive. We will do everything that we can to make the next few months the best educational experience possible for our students.”
Also affected throughout the state are restaurants and bars (closed to indoor dining), venue spaces (limited to 25 healthy people) and gyms, fitness centers and pools (limited to one-third capacity with no group classes allowed) starting Friday at 5 p.m. and running through Dec. 13.
Churches are also encouraged to not meet for in-person services until Dec. 13, Besehar announced Thursday.
Bedford Hometown Pizza’s General Manager Jared Kidwell said that while the news is “kind of upsetting,” he’s confident that business will remain steady throughout the next couple months both due to community support and the fact that pizza is a popular carryout option.
No employees will be laid off for now, he said. Instead, servers will be repurposed to her prepare carryout orders.
“It feels like a step back but if we got to do it, we got to do it,” Kidwell said. “We’ve been doing pretty good through all of this for the most part.”