School bus stop arm

FRANKFORT, KY — As many schools across the state prepare to reopen in the coming weeks, Kentucky's teachers union says the state's public schools should not resume in-person classes yet. 

In a statement released Friday, the Kentucky Education Association says schools across the commonwealth should not reopen for in-person instruction until the COVID-19 testing positivity rate falls below 4% and stays there for 21 days in a row. 

As of Friday, the state's rolling seven-day average rate for positive COVID-19 tests is 5.57%. 

"KEA believes the choice, based on scientific evidence, is clear: Kentucky’s public schools should not open to in-person instruction at this time," the statement reads. 

The KEA says districts also have to consider the rate of infection among children in their communities and whether the Kentucky Department of Public Health has approved of their reopening plans, among other factors. "Doing anything else is simply irresponsible," the statement reads.

The association is asking school superintendents and boards of education across Kentucky to begin the upcoming school year virtually for all students. 

"By every objective measure, and without public schools being open at all during the last few months, the coronavirus situation in Kentucky at this moment is far worse than it was in March. If we all believed it wasn’t safe to operate schools then, how can it possibly be safe to reopen now?" the statement reads. 

The union says it is calling for online-only schooling at this time to protect students, teachers and other school faculty. 

"The most difficult decisions to make are those where all the choices are bad. Under those circumstances, the best decision is the one that does the least harm. In this moment, we must all weigh our craving for normalcy against the health and safety of our children, the educators who actively serve them, the retired educators and other senior Kentuckians who are at higher risk from this disease, and all their families and communities," the statement reads. 

For more information on school district reopening plans in the Local 6 area, visit our Back to School guide

Download the document below to read the KEA's statement in full.