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COVID-19 and its rising local numbers were a topic of discussion Monday as the Franklin County Schools’ Board of Education met for a working meeting.

FCS will be using virtual instruction the rest of this week and Monday and Tuesday next week. The district’s Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 25-27.

A decision on whether to stay virtual or go to in-person instruction for the week of Nov. 30 will be made next week.

Franklin County is currently in the red zone with 30.8 average daily cases per 100,000 population on the state’s current incidence rate map.

Board member Larry Perkins suggested if the numbers are still high the week after Thanksgiving that the district stay with virtual instruction through Christmas break.

“This week-to-week thing has been really tough on parents and teachers and everyone,” Perkins said.

“Frankly, I agree with that,” FCS Superintendent Mark Kopp said. “If the numbers still stay high, we may look at doing something along those lines. I know it’s difficult week to week, and the only reason that we’ve done it week to week is just because that’s what the governor and Dr. (Steven) Stack (commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Health) have asked us to do.”

Action is not taken at working meetings.

Kopp said the district has paused practice for winter sports with the county in the red zone.

FCS has two fall sports teams still competing, the Elkhorn Middle and Franklin County football teams.

“We do not want to take away their opportunity to compete for a state championship, but if any of those events were to be held here in our district, we would have to have a no fans policy,” Kopp said. “I think that’s very consistent with what other districts are doing. I know it’s an inconvenience, but safety has always got to trump everything else. Right now, things are raging in terms of this virus, so we’ve made that call.”

Elkhorn Middle is scheduled to play Bowling Green for a state championship Saturday at Taylor County High School in Campbellsville. FCHS is scheduled to start the state Class 4A playoffs Friday, hosting Shelby County in the first round.

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Board of Control is meeting Wednesday morning, and one of the items on the agenda is “COVID-19 All Sports Issues.”

Kopp reported that he and Pupil Personnel Director Kyle Sexton met with after-school program (ASP) directors last week.

“We met all our ASP directors last week, and they are very confident because of the extra guidance and guidelines they have to follow that they will be able to safely continue operating those ASPs,” Kopp said. “They’ve been open since Aug. 26 and, knock on wood, have had zero (COVID) cases associated with them. They’ve been doing a fantastic job.”

Kopp said the ASPs are currently operating as they do during snow days, providing child care for parents during the day.

“Right now our number is at 30, 29, somewhere in there,” he said. “If our number jumped up to 45 or so, we would have to look and see if we needed to close those just for the safety of everyone involved.

“They (the directors) are very confident in their ability to stay open and provide that service for our families because we know none of this is convenient and none of this is easy.”

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