St. Mary's School System in Paducah set to return elementary students back to school on Monday despite the Governor's executive order after a ruling from the courts stating religious schools are exempt.
The St. Mary's School System in Paducah, Kentucky will return elementary students back to school on Monday, November 30 for in-person learning while middle and high school students will remain remote until December 7, according to St. Mary's administrators. This after a judge ruled that Governor Andy Beshear can't order religious schools to stop in-person instruction to protect against the spread of COVID-19. St. Mary's said they're following their sister schools in Owensboro's lead.
The Governor issued an executive order on November 18 requiring all public and private schools to halt in-person instruction until two COVID-19 cycles had passed. Essentially, middle schools and high schools were to return after the Christmas break and elementary schools could return December 7 if their county was no longer in the red zone. The order became in effect just before Thanksgiving break.
Two days after the executive order, Kentucky's Attorney General David Cameron joined a lawsuit led by Danville Christian Academy in the US District Court for the Eastern District claiming that the order shouldn't pertain to religious schools on the grounds of their First Amendment rights. Judge Gregory Van Tatenhoven ruled in favor of the Christian school.
An announcement was made on Friday by the Diocese in Owensboro, Kentucky (the school system to which St. Mary's belongs) regarding their stance. The superintendent of the Catholic schools said that they believed the state is doing what it believes to be in the best interest of the children. However, the diocese believes that their schools are equipped to handle the situation with students returning to school in a safe environment. The letter from the diocese is below.
Governor Beshear has filed a motion for an emergency appeal in the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals stating, "The District Court's Order exempting Danville Christian Academy and other religiously affiliated schools from these public health measures will cause substantial harm to the public that encounters the children and staff of these schools. At this point of the pandemic, in Boyle County, a gathering of 15 individuals, smaller than a class at Danville Christian Academy, has a 37% percent of including an individual with COVID-10. The risk increases with more people."
Bring in the New Year in your pjs and purchase a New Year's Eve Home Party Pack from the Charity League of Paducah raising funds for Easterseals West Kentucky
The Charity League of Paducah will bring in the New Year COVID-19 style. The spread of the coronavirus is hampering the ability for local charitable organizations to raise money for nonprofits and the Charity League of Paducah is no different. Each year, the League plans a New Year’s Eve bash that raises money for Easterseals West Kentucky. Last year, they raised approximately $25,000.
This year, the party will be celebrated in the comfort of one's home compliments of the Charity League of Paducah and several local sponsors. The transformation from eveningwear to pjs will ‘party on’ with a New Year’s Eve Home Party Pack.
Local sponsors like Wagner Wine & Spirits will be the Champagne Toast Sponsor. They’ll be responsible for ‘poppin’ the cork on the bubbly spirits while participants bring in the year at home. Another local company, Chambers Roofing Company will contribute to the New Year’s Eve Party Packs. I don’t believe a new roof is one of the party favors, however, there will be other goodies contributed by the local company.
The cancelation of Snowball 2020 was decided sometime around the first of November. With that difficult decision, ideas to replace the highly-successful annual party were in the works. Thankfully, the alternative plan came together quickly.
The Easterseals of West Kentucky is the primary non-profit beneficiary of the fundraiser and the need is great. The mission of the nonprofit is to enhance the quality of life for children and adults of all abilities promoting personal development, independence, inclusion, and equality.
There will be three different party packs sold and filled with New Year’s Eve supplies like champagne, flutes, snacks, sweets, party hands and more.
First is the Banterra Bank VIP “Bank on New Beginnings” party pack for $250. Second is the Paducah Bank ‘Happy WOWYear’ party pack for $150. Third is the Chambers Roofing ‘Raise the Roof’ party pack for $100.
The history of the Charity League of Paducah began in 1928 when a group of six women wanted to raise $150 to purchase a couch and chair for the Friendly Home for Children. From that meeting, the first ‘Snowball was thrown’. The same group of women held four Snowballs and in 1932, the Charity League of Paducah was established.
Their first project was the Lending Library located in Rudy’s Department Store nicknamed, “The Macy’s of Paducah”. The 1937 flood claimed the beautiful, exquisite store and the Lending Library project moved to the Charity League House. Other fundraisers were created throughout the years and in 1952, a variety show ‘the follies’ raised money and donated funds to the construction of the West Kentucky Easter Seals Center. If you would like to read more about the history of the Charity League of Paducah, follow this link: https://paducahcharityleague.com/history/
Paducah is fortunate to have a group of dedicated women raising money for those in need. To purchase a party pack or make a monetary donation, contact Hillary Landry, Charity League President at charityleagueofpaducah@ gmail.com. All orders must be placed by December 4.
Superintendent Donald Shively tests positive for COVID-19 and virtual learning continues for PPS
Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively along with 30 other Paducah Public Schools employees have COVID-19 related quarantines. Shively has tested positive for the virus but not all employees are dealing with the same circumstance.
The announcement came on Wednesday by a school district spokesman. Of the 30 quarantined staff members, some will be quarantined due to the exposure to the virus. Others are caring for family members that have tested positive while some have tested positive.
Students will continue to learn virtually from November 16 through November 20 based on recommendations by the Purchase District Health Department because of the rise in positive cases in the community, said Paducah Public Schools Wayne Waldon. There will be students that will have NIT days on November 23 and 24 as well. Schools will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday November 25 - 27.
The Tornado takeout meal program will deliver once a week on Thursdays, providing six days' worth of meals for those under the age of 18.
During a special called meeting on Wednesday, November 11, a decision was made that students at McCracken County Schools will continue to learn virtually into December. The announcement was made by Superintendent Steve Carter who shared some of the districts COVID-19 numbers with the board.
Carter said, "What's going on in our community filters into our buildings." The rise in cases in McCracken County since November are being reflected in the rise in numbers within the walls of our schools in McCracken County.
There were 2,700 new positive CoV-2 cases reported in Kentucky by Governor Andy Beshear on Wednesday. This is the reason for the called meeting and the continuation of virtual learning in the McCracken County School District.
The positive cases are undeniable and Carter made special note of it. It's the belief of the leaders of the school system that keeping students' mental health at the forefront is crucial. The spread of the virus must be squashed. Carter said, "But it's got to be in a safe, controlled, very tight process."
Kentucky's positivity rate is 8.12% inching closer and closer to the numbers of the neighboring state of Illinois. The hope is that this time of virtual learning will help get the virus exposure under control.
The school district for McCracken County will continue to track the COVID-19 numbers within the district for future decisions on when students can safely return to the classroom. Board members of the school district will continue to follow the numbers in our area.
Caldwell County School District is concerned over the number of COVID-19 positive cases
Caldwell County is seeing its ‘fair share’ of COVID-19 positive cases. The Pennyrile District Health Department reported 120 cases on Thursday, October 29, involving school students and staff that had been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person and were quarantining. As it stands, four of the students have tested positive. According to the Pennyrile Health Department two cases were confirmed Thursday, one on Tuesday, and one on Monday. All ages 5 -18.
Caldwell County Interim Superintendent Heath Cartwright posted a letter to the school district website informing the public about the quarantine. This particular quarantine began on Tuesday, October 21.
In a release from the superintendent’s office, it said, “Due to an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases and the number of staff and students being isolated/ quarantined, please be prepared for a possible change to virtual or hybrid instruction for a period of time. At this time, we have 19 staff members and 82 students being isolated/quarantined (Approximately 30 of the 82 students are from two primary school classrooms where contract tracing determined the need for each class to be quarantined by the health department). The superintendents news release may be read in its entirety below).
The release also stated that the rise in cases is a cause for concern and for students and parents to be prepared for the possibility of a return to virtual learning.
The Executive Director of the Pennyrile District Health Department said that those who are contacts to the positive cases shouldn’t be confused with those who actually test positive for COVID-19. Positive cases are isolated for 10 days of their positive test or as they start to show symptoms. Contacts of positive cases are isolated for 14 days from their last day of the contact with a positive case.
A possible reason for the higher contact numbers in a primary care classroom is due to the amount of circulation an instructor has to make with the little ones. Their needs require more personal contact as opposed to a middle or high school classroom instructor.
The health department is working closely with those in the school district trying to determine those that have been in close contact with an infected person. The district is being cautious translating into a larger number of quarantined individuals. This is Caldwell County Primary School’s third classroom to be under quarantine.
The number of contacts prompted Cartwright to send out parent communication sharing with parents what needs to happen in order to remain on an in-person schedule.
As it stands, there have been no plans to change to a hybrid or all virtual learning schedule but there is the potential. Caldwell County is back in the red zone with 44.8 confirmed cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days.