As the situation around the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves and more cases are discovered across the state, I want you to know that the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) continues to work closely with the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) to provide accurate information so we can strengthen our preparedness and response efforts to our schools and districts. The most up-to-date information on COVID-19 in Kentucky is being maintained on the DPH’s website.
This evening, Governor Andy Beshear, joined by DPH officials, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), announced three additional cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky, bringing the total cases to four -- two in Harrison County and one case each in Jefferson and Fayette counties. The governor indicated all four individuals are in isolation.
I know there continues to be anxiety among our public school families – students, educators and staff members alike – and I want to reiterate what the governor and DPH officials have already expressed: this is not a time to panic, as Kentuckians’ risk of getting the virus is relatively low. I also want to reassure you that everyone at the KDE and within other agencies of state government are ready and willing to assist you and your district as this situation evolves.
As you may already know, Harrison County Schools made the decision to close this week (March 9-13) to limit further exposure within their community. Until more is known from the state’s current epidemiological investigations, the governor advised that closing schools and public gatherings is not recommended. However, he said, as with the case of Harrison County, individual districts can make their own decisions.
Furthermore, the KDE recommends that any decision to close schools in response to COVID-19 (as with any other public health concern) be based on guidance and input from public health professionals at your local health department. These professionals can provide valuable input on whether school closure is recommended to help address public health concerns.
If you have not already done so, we encourage you to contact your local health department to construct a plan for timely communication and guidance regarding COVID-19 in your community. A strong partnership with local public health professionals will ensure timely and accurate information regarding any public health concerns.
Information that may be helpful in emergency management planning or operations include: