The Frankfort Independent Schools Board of Education approved a reopening plan for in-person instruction at a special meeting Thursday.

Using a metric tool provided by the state, FIS will begin in-person instruction for small groups on Monday, Sept. 28, with the opportunity for potential flexibility moving toward the phased-in approach if COVID data and internal safety guidelines are followed and successful.

Franklin County is currently at the orange level in the metric, which means there are 10 to 25 average daily new cases per 100,000 people based on the previous seven days.

If the county drops to the yellow level (one to 10 cases per 100,000), FIS will go to a staggered, phased-in plan.

“As you know, the metric came out this past Monday about how districts should operate in terms of being open and how that would look,” FIS Superintendent Houston Barber said, “and each district would have the opportunity to evaluate their incidence rate at their county level.

“We’ve set the paradigm and the goal to have what it would look like if we were in green, yellow, orange or red.

“We would start with small groups, and how they’re determined would be based on our special education population, learning loss risk reduction groups and differential groups that have existed at each grade level.”

At green (less than one case per 100,000), all students will be able to attend school in person, and instruction would be 100% virtual in red zones (25-plus cases per 100,000 people).

Students have the option of virtual instruction regardless of the metric level.

Wednesdays would be 100% virtual learning for disinfecting, regrouping on what’s working and what’s not and the analysis of data for all metric levels.

In a presentation by Second Street Principal Sam Sams, in the yellow phased-in approach, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten would begin Sept. 28 in Phase 1.

Phase 2 would be grades 1-4 beginning Oct. 1, and grades 5-8 would start on Oct. 12 in Phase 3.

At Frankfort High, instruction will be 100% virtual with in-person small group opportunities throughout the day at the orange level.

At the yellow level, FHS Principal Tyler Reed said freshmen would be phased in with Phase 1, followed by sophomores and juniors in Phase 2 and seniors in Phase 3.

Reed said the phases would be separated by two or three weeks once the final yellow stage date has been confirmed.

The metric tool is released every Thursday evening. Barber said the data would be reviewed, and if the county changes levels, the district would have a buffer week before switching levels.

Protocols for hand-washing and disinfecting will be followed, and staff and students will be required to wear masks except when eating or drinking.

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