With positive COVID cases on the rise, school systems elect to temporary suspend in class learning

Published 3:55 pm Monday, January 11, 2021

With a rise in the number of positive Covid cases, Pike County and Troy City Schools have decided to shift to virtual learning.

The Pike County School System will begin the process of converting to all virtual learning starting tomorrow, Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Mark Bazzell, the superintendent of Pike County Schools, explained there has been a significant increase in the positive Covid cases as well as an increase in the need for students and employees to quarantine due to close contact or Covid symptoms.

“We were very concerned about the number of positive Covid cases and the trends that we’re seeing,” said Bazzell. “This is the post holiday increase that we were anticipating.”

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Pike County Schools have been monitoring the rise in positive cases since the students returned to class after the holidays and decided the best course of action would be to return to virtual learning for a period of time.

Bazzell explained the change to all virtual learning extends through Friday, January 29. The need to extend to all virtual after this date will be determined the week of January 25-29, and parents will be notified of any changes.

“Beginning tomorrow, Pike County Schools will be closed for students attending school and receiving Traditional instruction. Tuesday and Wednesday, students and parents may come to campus and meet with teachers to ensure they can access the Schoology learning platform and receive their instructional schedule. Students may also pickup any instructional materials they may need at this time,” said Bazzell.

Virtual instruction will begin in earnest on Thursday for Traditional students. Bazzell explained this change will not impact students currently receiving virtual learning, and instruction for these students will continue uninterrupted and as scheduled.

Students receiving instruction by ACCESS, students participating in dual enrollment Academy programs, and students participating in dual enrollment short-term certificate programs through Career Technical Education offerings will continue classes as scheduled.

Bazzell explained the Child Nutrition Program will begin providing curbside pickup at each school for breakfast and lunch beginning tomorrow, January 12, between the hours of 10:30 AM and 1:00 PM.

For Pike County Schools, all non-essential travel is suspended and all extra-curricular activities are suspended, unless specifically approved by the Office of the Superintendent.

“It is regretful that a change to all virtual has become necessary. However, case numbers now double our previous worse day, which occurred back in mid-March of 2020,” Bazzell said. “We ask that everyone, including the broader community at large, stay safe and help us get back to school by practicing Center for Disease Control recommendations.”

This important message is available on the school system’s social media platforms and website at www.pikecountyschools.com.

Troy City Schools have also been monitoring the influx of COVID-19 cases in Pike County and decided to make the shift to all virtual learning.

Although an outbreak has not occurred within Troy City Schools, Cynthia Thomas, the superintendent of Troy City Schools stated, “Our concern is the number of students who are in quarantine due to being in close contact or who have symptoms. As a result, students, parents, and employees should be prepared for the shift to complete virtual instruction effective Wednesday, January 20 through Friday, January 29, 2021.”

Thomas stated TCS will continue to monitor COVID-19 and make the best decision as they get closer to returning to in-person learning. “We understand that this may present some challenges as it relates to childcare and etc., however, we feel this decision is in the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff at this time,” she said. TCS will be closed on Monday, January 18, 2021, in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

Thomas explained during this two-week period, providing virtual instruction to TCS students will help mitigate the transmission of the virus in our community. This transition will have no impact on students who are already receiving virtual instruction.

“During this time, it is important for all students to put forth their best effort to participate in their instruction and complete all assignments. Additional information will be provided as soon as possible and no later than by the end of the week,” Thomas said.

“TCS students are my number one priority. Our decision is one that has not been taken lightly but is necessary to ensure the safety and health of our students, faculty, and staff,” Thomas said. “Please help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by practicing the Center for Disease Control guidelines. As always, we will continue to provide pertinent updates and resources as they relate to safety and academics to ensure that our students receive a quality education while being kept safe. Lastly, thanks for being our partners in education and entrusting Troy City Schools to provide your student with a quality education.”

When asked if Pike Liberal Arts School will continue classes as normal or follow in the shift to all virtual learning, Eric Burkett the headmaster of Pike Liberal Arts School said, “We are continuing to meet and evaluate our community and will make the best decision we can.”

Both New Life Christian and Covenant Christian will continue classes as normal.