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Schools in Boyle County closing as COVID-19 spreads

This story was updated with more information at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12.

Danville and Boyle County’s school systems both announced plans to close until mid-April today, as a precaution against the current COVID-19 virus that is spreading across the globe.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College classes will be “moving to online classes for a short period” of March 22-April 4, according to a news release.

Centre College will have “a clear statement of our plans — academically and otherwise — for the remainder of the term,” sometime on Friday, according to a letter sent to all students from President John Roush on Thursday.

Boyle County Schools will be closed for the next four weeks, from March 16 to April 10, according to an announcement released by the school district this afternoon. Danville Schools will not be in session beginning tomorrow, March 13, and the schools will remain closed through April 10, reopening April 13, according to a letter from the district to parents issued this afternoon.

Danville Christian Academy will also be closed from March 16 to April 10, according to Headmaster Jim Ward’s office.

Kentucky School for the Deaf’s administrative office said the school wasn’t prepared to make an announcement about any closure yet.

Both the Danville and Boyle County school districts will be using non-traditional instruction (NTI) days during the break, meaning students will complete schoolwork assignments at home rather than at school. And both districts plan to use an additional 10 NTI days as authorized by the Kentucky Department of Education to address the COVID-19 situation.

“The COVID-19 outbreak is a unique situation for the entire county and we will continue to monitor the situation very closely,” the Boyle Schools statement reads. “… Despite the current state of affairs, we are committed to providing support for our students and families.”

“We are taking these measures in accordance with the guidelines put out by the Boyle County Health Department and the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” the Danville letter reads. “These precautions are taken out of an abundance of caution and to help control the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority.”

While Danville Schools are targeting April 13 as a return date, the letter notes that “as the current concern of COVID-19 progresses, we will continue to monitor and evaluate this date going forward.”

Both districts also announced cancellations of many extracurricular events.

Boyle’s cancellation statement: “Beginning Monday, March 16 all school trips, athletic activities (including games and practices), club meetings, academic competitions and any other extracurricular activities are suspended until further notice. This includes any use of our facilities by outside groups. We have also made the difficult decision to cancel Black + Gold this year. Because of the amount of planning that will need to occur over the next two months, it was not feasible to accomplish the task to ensure a quality camp.”

Danville’s cancellation statement: “Many events have already been canceled, but going forward, all extracurricular activities, including athletics, will be canceled until further notice. All buildings and outdoor facilities will be closed as of today, March 12, at 5 p.m.”

BCTC is on spring break this coming week, March 15-21; after that, instruction is scheduled to take place online from March 22 to April, according to a news release from the college.

“The goal is to resume normal course delivery April 5,” according to the release.

BCTC has also suspended domestic or international travel sponsored or endorsed by the college until April 30. “After that date, decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis,” according to the release.

As of Wednesday, 64 people in Kentucky had been tested for possible COVID-19 infection, with eight testing positive. No cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Boyle County yet.

Boyle County Health Department Director Brent Blevins said earlier this week he anticipates an increase in verified cases of the virus as tests become more readily available.

More information about COVID-19 is available at www.kycovid19.ky.gov.