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District to remain on all-virtual instruction next week
     The leadership team at Ballard County Schools met Friday morning, and due to the number of quarantined staff, decided to remain on all-virtual instruction through the end of next week (Nov. 13). For the additional safety of students and families, the group also decided to suspend all district athletic activities for the week, including both games and practices.
     “Our decision on instruction is based solely on whether we have enough staff available to safely and adequately teach, transport, and feed our students,” said Dr. Casey Allen, Ballard superintendent. “This week, we’ve been hit particularly hard with instructional staff members on quarantine. Again, we’ve been lucky – our transportation and food service staff, at least for now, remains at full strength.”
     He continued, “As many of you know, Ballard County transitioned to the red ‘critical’ phase on the state’s incidence map yesterday, meaning we have more than 25 cases of the virus per 100,000 citizens. As long as we continue to see a high number of our staff affected, our team will meet on Fridays to make plans for the coming week.”
     Dr. Allen stressed that the district would return to a hybrid instruction model as soon as there were enough staff available. “As long as can offer that choice of virtual or in-person learning for our students, we want to do so. Even if we have smaller numbers of students in actual attendance, we still want to be able to give them a chance to come to school. From an instructional and socio-developmental standpoint, we believe – and studies have shown – that kids are better off in school, as long as it’s safe for them to be here.” He also reminded families that if they are having difficulty accessing online instruction to please contact their child’s school as soon as possible by calling 270-665-8400.
     The school environment may be one of the safer ones that students encounter right now, he added. Buildings and buses are sanitized daily, and students and staff are either masked or socially distanced throughout the day. “One large group of students has been quarantined from possible exposure at a school-related activity, but not from a classroom infection,” Dr. Allen said. “We want to stress again how important it is for  everyone follow all health and safety guidelines at home and outside of school: Stay home when you can, and when you go out into the community, please wear a mask and social distance – especially in a group setting. Wash your hands often, and if you’re having symptoms, please isolate as much as possible until you’ve had a chance to go to a healthcare provider or get test results.”
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