When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit in the last school year, school districts nationwide did what they could. Many of them moved with no experience into virtual instruction. Parents did the best they could to make the best choices educationally for their children, but it was all new territory.
Now, more than six months later, there’s no clear path out of the pandemic and its impacts. As school districts prepared for this coming year, Gov. Andy Beshear entered into the picture, recommending that districts hold off opening in-person instruction until Sept. 28.
Like many other districts, Floyd County decided to hold off on in-person opening until after that date. Now that schools are reopened, as expected, COVID-19 continues to impact operations. On Oct. 12, the district announced that, due to a case diagnosis, Floyd Central High School would be moving to virtual instruction for the rest of this week.
It’s not surprising. In fact, the district had prepared for such an event in its planning, and reacted quickly and appropriately to the news. They did the best they could, given what they have before them.
Here’s the bad news: The people who make up the administration of the Floyd County Schools District are not capable of seeing the future. They cannot, with any surety know what effects their decisions will have on the educational and health status of both students and the community.
But they’re trying, which is all we can do right now.
It’s easy to criticize on the other side of decisions, once the effects are seen, or even when they negatively impact you, but making these kinds of choices isn’t easy.
The Floyd County Schools District has been able to foresee some of the challenges, and when they have, they’ve reacted. One example is the purchase of Google Chromebooks for every student in the district. When they were purchased last school year, the district had no way to know what the 2020-2021 school year would look like.
Now that we’re in that school year, we can, in hindsight, say that was the right choice. Numerous districts are struggling to arm their students with the tools needed for online instruction, but Floyd County, thanks to this choice, is not one of them.
We’re convinced that the Floyd County Schools District is doing its best on behalf of the children and families, as well as the community, it serves. Some of the choices the administration makes will be unpopular, some will turn out to be the wrong ones, but we’re grateful to those individuals at the helm who are willing to make the decisions, despite being like the rest of us — unclear on what the near future holds.
Another factor in all this, though, that must be considered is the actions of all of us outside the district. COVID-19 cases are rising locally. It’s up to us to back up the schools by doing the right things individually and ensuring our children are making the right choices.
Wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance — all of these things will help us get back to a kind of “normal.” This is how we can best help the school district make the right choices — by clearing the pathway to fewer cases, less risk for school and school activities.
And, until we can get the numbers down and get back to ‘normal,’ we can show our support for those making these tough decisions, even when we disagree with their conclusions. Voice your opinion, but be respectful and helpful, as we recognize that the same weights we’re feeling in our own decision-making are amplified as they make choices for a majority of the families across our community.
These men and women didn’t ask for this challenge, but they’re standing up in it.