KSBA has compiled a number of resources, best practices and guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on districts. This page includes information on the following topics (in order):
- State and federal agency COVID-19 resource page links
- Mandated Closure of In-Person Instruction (NEW)
- Vaccine Issues
- Emergency leave for school board employees
- Meeting protocols for COVID-19
- Healthy at School guidance
- Emergency FMLA and federally mandated sick leave
- Virtual meeting security guidance
- Training videos
Kentucky Department of Education
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
U.S. Department of
Center for Disease
Control and Prevention
National School Boards Association
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(11.18.2020) Gov. Andy Beshear issued Executive Order 2020-969 which mandates the cessation of in-person instruction in all public and private schools, beginning Nov. 23, 2020. Find the entirety of the Order at the link below.
(11.18.2020) Following the issuance of Gov. Beshear's executive order, Education Commissioner Dr. Jason Glass emailed all Kentucky superintendents with answers to frequently asked questions regarding the halt to in-person instruction. The email is linked below.
(12.4.2020) Guidance documents pertaining to the release of COVID-19 vaccines, issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, were shared by KDE General Counsel on Gov. Beshear’s Dec. 4 call with superintendents. See question 13 on page 10 of the guidance documents (linked below) regarding exemptions to mandatory vaccination requirements. Issues such as these should be discussed with board counsel, the school district health coordinator and local health department. A recording of the 12.4.2020 call with superintendents is linked below.
(Update 8.6.2020) At the Aug. 6 meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE), the board adopted Emergency Regulation 702 KAR 1:190, giving local boards of education the authority to approve additional emergency leave (beyond the statutory three-day limit) due to COVID-19. These provisions are very similar to those provided under Senate Bill 177 that were in effect through the end of the 2019-20 school year. This emergency regulation will go into effect immediately upon its filing with the Legislative Research Commission.
KSBA has composed a sample resolution for school boards (linked below) to grant district employees additional days of COVID-19 related emergency leave. Districts should be aware that providing this new emergency leave is optional. The model is designed to comport with the very recent KBE emergency regulation on this subject and contains parenthetical notes “flagging” some of the areas where the District has options. Readers should also be aware that based on the discussion at the August 6, 2020 meeting of the KBE, additional KDE guidance on this regulation may be forthcoming. The matters of whether to provide this leave, coordination with existing federal leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (which will continue to require partially paid leaves for COVID-19 related reasons for eligible employees through 12/31/20), and the desired wording (particularly as relates to reasons for the emergency leave) should be considered in consultation with District legal counsel.
(7.21.2020) Interim Commissioner of Education Kevin Brown issued a memorandum on July 21, 2020, signed by Lt. Gov. Coleman, that builds on previous executive orders from Gov. Beshear to deal with potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our schools and districts.
This memorandum suspends the statutory 3-day limit on paid emergency leave for school employees for the entire 2020-2021 school year. As a result, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) will immediately propose an emergency regulation to the Kentucky Board of Education that gives local boards of education the authority to approve additional emergency leave due to COVID-19. These provisions will mimic the emergency leave provisions provided under SB 177 that were in effect through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
KDE also released guidance and other tools for districts
based on this memorandum and clarifies other leave questions raised by
superintendents. Guidance documents are linked below. Boards should consult
with school district counsel regarding their potential use and implementation.
Superintendents Webcast explaining suspension of statutory 3-day limit on paid
emergency leave for school employees
7.21.2020 KDE memorandum - School district emergency leave
during 2020-2021 school year
7.21.2020 KDE emergency leave options - COVID-19 Considerations for Reopening Schools
(6.24.2020): The Governor and the Commissioner of Education jointly released the state’s Healthy At School guidelines, which were developed by the Department for Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Education (KDE). Similar to the Healthy At Work guidelines, these protocols will be subject to change as the nature of the pandemic in Kentucky evolves. This is the most important guiding document to which school boards and district leaders should refer as they develop and implement their own unique local school re-opening and virus mitigation plans.
“Healthy at School” Guidance on Safety Expectations and Best Practices for Kentucky Schools
(6.24.2020) The Commissioner of Education noted in a June 24 memorandum, signed by Lt. Gov. Coleman, that certain regulations have been suspended for the 2020-21 school year to provide districts flexibility as to their instructional approaches without incurring substantial loss in state funding; such as in-person, NTI or a blended model. In summary, this action lifts the cap on the maximum number of NTI days for the year, and will continue using the ADA (average daily attendance) figures each district chose to use for the 2019-20 school year for the 2020-21 school year. Read the memo in its entirety below.
KDE Memorandum 6.24.2020 - Student participation and emergency funding calculations for the 2020-21 school year
(UPDATE 11.23.20) On Nov. 20, 2020, KDE furnished the following guidance to superintendents and other school leaders.
Are there any changes to in-person local school district board meetings?
In response to the public health emergency caused by the novel coronavirus, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 150 (“SB 150”). Containing an emergency clause, SB 150 became law upon the Governor’s signature on March 30, 2020.
For the duration of the state of emergency, SB 150 is the controlling authority in instances where the public agency invokes its provisions. Public agencies are not required to conduct in-person meetings during the state of emergency. However, a public agency that does not “conduct” its meeting “by live audio or live video teleconference during the period of the state of emergency” is subject to the provisions of KRS 61.800 et seq. See 2020 Ky. Acts ch. 73 § 1(8)(b). That is, if the public agency opts to conduct its meeting in person instead of via video teleconference, it must make the physical meeting open to the public. KRS 61.840 requires that “[a]ll agencies shall provide meeting room conditions, including adequate space, seating, and acoustics, which insofar as is feasible allow effective public observation of the public meeting.”
Of course, the public agency should take proper precautions for social distancing and mask wearing for members in attendance, as well as the public. EO 2020-968 indicates indoor venues, event spaces, and theaters are limited to 25 people per room. While it appears this does not specifically apply to education, it is a good guide for the number of people to permit in one room if a school district opts to conduct in person meetings.
(6.16.2020): KDE announced that school boards and school councils (SBDMs) may resume in-person public meetings at this time if they chose to do so, so long as they follow the state’s Healthy at Work guidelines. As of June 18, those guidelines allow for gatherings of 10 people or fewer. On June 29, that number will increase to 50 people or fewer. Under both scenarios, everyone at the meeting must remain 6 feet apart or wear face masks, according to the guidance. Boards should consult the Healthy At Work guidelines for more detail, available at the link below along with meeting site posters/notices:
Healthy at Work: Reopening Kentucky website
(4.6.2020): The General Assembly enacted Senate
Bill 150 (SB 150), which became law on March 30, 2020. That bill makes some temporary changes to the Open Meetings Act relating to this emergency, to give more flexibility to school boards to conduct any meetings (special or regular) via not only video teleconference by also possibly audio teleconference, -IF- a board does not have the “capacity or availability” to meet by video teleconference. SB 150 also requires similar public notice requirements as those already outlined in OAG 20-05. SB 150 provides that a board’s regular meeting may be held via teleconference, and that even though a regular meeting does not become a special meeting simply because video teleconferencing is being used, the bill does require meeting notices that are similar to a special meeting procedure. Therefore, under SB 150, school boards should give notice at least 24 hours before any video teleconference meeting that includes a posting of the agenda of any meeting held via video teleconference. The Kentucky Attorney General issued
an Advisory on March 31 interpreting SB 150, in which he confirmed that while “special meeting type” notice rules apply, these regular meetings are not subject to the usual special meeting limitation that discussion and action is limited to items described in the agenda. Most board policies allow regular meeting agendas to be amended per vote of the full board.
In light of SB 150, KSBA has prepared a draft resolution for boards to consider, linked below. We do not believe there is a need for any board to adopt this new resolution if they already adopted our first resolution, and if the board has the capacity or availability to meet by video teleconference. Boards should consider these options with board counsel.
SAMPLE Local School Board Meeting Protocol Resolution UPDATED Following Passage of SB 150
An earlier version of the resolution, linked below, was made available on March 19, 2020, prior to the passage of SB 150.
SAMPLE Local School Board Meeting Protocol Resolution ORIGINAL Prior to Passage of SB 150
(3.19.2020): The Attorney General issued guidance regarding meetings of local school boards and other public entities during the COVID-19 emergency:
Attorney General Cameron Provides Agency Guidance on Open Meetings Act During COVID-19 Pandemic
(Updated 4.15.2020) The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act has been signed into law. This legislation includes the “Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act” and the “Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act.” Click the links below for guidelines based on the new law and a sample emergency leave form. Boards should consult with school district counsel regarding their potential use and implementation.
Flow chart - Federal Emergency Paid Sick Leave and Federal Emergency FMLA Expansion Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
Emergency FMLA and Federally Mandated Sick Leave Reference Guidance 4.15.2020
Federal Emergency Leave Form 4.15.2020
(4.2.2020) With virtual meetings becoming the new norm during this pandemic, millions of users are entering the online meeting space. Unfortunately, some meeting organizers are ill-prepared for a relatively new trend known as “Zoom bombing.” The term refers to uninvited (and anonymous) users who force their way into active Zoom meetings with the intentions of disrupting them. These instances are largely preventable but require meeting hosts to take precautionary steps to ensure an appropriate level of online meeting security. Carefully review the information linked below before scheduling your next Zoom online meeting and share with those who share your virtual meeting space.
Zoom Virtual Meeting Security Tips
(6.25.2020) Between the newly released reopening guidance and other resources put forth in recent months by state and federal agencies, there is much for school boards and their districts to consider – some of which may require board action. KSBA Director of Advocacy Eric Kennedy has put together a helpful 20-minute video, “School Board Considerations for Reopening During COVID-19,” to highlight areas of particular interest to district leaders.
Download a PDF of the slides from this video.
Contact KSBA if you have questions: (800)372-2962