DEVELOPING: Manual prepares for coronavirus

Molly Gregory

On Sunday, March 8, Gov. Beshear announced on a live stream that three more cases of COVID-19 coronavirus have been diagnosed in Jefferson, Fayette and Harrison counties, making for a total of four cases.

JCPS has a preexisting Pandemic Viral Event Plan (PVEP) that identifies different levels of action depending on the extent to which a disease has been spread. In the case of COVID-19, JCPS has been in close contact with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMDPHW) to provide maximum awareness and safety. JCPS is currently at level five of the PVEP.

Infographic by Molly Gregory.

JCPS sent parents a letter describing the district’s plans for handling the virus. In the letter, JCPS stated “[b]ecause there is now a confirmed case of Coronavirus in Jefferson County, we have moved to Level 5 of our Pandemic Preparedness Plan. Principals and school administrators continue to work with our custodial staff to make sure all of our buildings are clean and disinfected and students and staff are being reminded of hand hygiene along with proper cough etiquette.”

Schools will remain open until the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness tells the district otherwise.

On Monday, Principal Farmer discussed with Manual RedEye about Manual’s plans for the virus. “The most important thing is washing your hands regularly,” Farmer said. He suggests Manual students follow the instructions released by the CDC.

Manual’s sanitation routine will remain the same. “They have their runs, and they clean, and they dust. You see on televisions people walking in with the sanitizing equipment, that doesn’t happen on a day-to-day basis. They do their normal jobs just maintaining cleanliness as best they can,” Farmer explained.

JCPS has a shortage of custodians, but Farmer does not believe this will be an issue. “We have custodians out [of school] on a regular basis, just like teachers, although we don’t get subs for custodians because districtwide there is a shortage of custodial staff. The staff that does show up, they do a pretty good job at picking up the slack,” Farmer said.

In the case of school closure, if JCPS does not employ distance learning tactics similar to ones used by other school districts and private schools, Manual may be forced to make up school days into June. It is not Manual’s choice whether to use distance learning techniques. “That’s left up to the district. A lot of schools have a snow day but they do school at home. We do have a lot of classes with Edmodo and Google Classroom,” Farmer said.

The district has not disclosed whether or not traveling and transport will be canceled. “[The district] is watching this closely. They’re going to advise us as promptly as necessary and with the best advice. I feel confident that they are monitoring the situation and if they, worst-case scenario, put a cease on traveling or field trips, they will let us know,” Farmer said.

Later that morning, Mr. Farmer asked all teachers to show this video in their first block class.

Until further information comes out, JCPS will remain in school and the ACT will still take place on Tuesday.

This story will be updated as we learn more information.