Summer break will start earlier than usual for Lyon County students, and seniors could still get their traditional graduation ceremony.

On Monday, the local board of education set Friday, May 8 as the final day of instruction for the school district. That’s almost two weeks earlier than the original date of May 21 because at-home non-traditional instruction (NTI) during the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed Lyon County Schools to attain the requisite hours of instruction hours sooner than expected.

It is not how school officials wanted to end the 2019-20 academic year, but Gov. Andy Beshear earlier this month ordered all school facilities in Kentucky closed for the remainder of the school year. Instructional staff in Lyon County, however, will continue to work through May 21. Those nine additional days of work will give teachers time to prepare for the state’s new education standards.

Graduation for Lyon County’s 50 or so seniors is still officially set for Friday, May 22, but that is looking less likely since Superintendent Russ Tilford and the five-member board seem intent on giving graduates some type of normalcy for commencement.

“My recommendation is just remain patient,” Tilford told the board. “Just hold tight and see what the future holds.”

Many school districts will be hosting virtual or drive-through ceremonies on their initial graduation dates, forgoing the traditional delivery of diplomas as classmates file together across a stage.

“We are still hopeful of some type of in-person graduation this summer,” the superintendent said.

Any changes to the graduation date or type of ceremony would need to be decided by the board.

“I don’t see a rush,” said board member Josh Patton.

Tilford has communicated the district’s intent to all seniors and their families. Any type of commencement will most certainly take place before a new school year begins.

The 2020-21 school year in Lyon County is scheduled to start for students Aug. 11.

NTI participation has flagged a bit since the first week of at-home school work beginning March 16. The first week saw 94% participation, but subsequent weeks fell to 93%, 92% and 89% until rebounding to 92% last week.

Food services, meantime, continues dishing out record numbers of meals. On Friday, 1,040 Lyon County children were provided free take-home breakfast and lunch for five days.

“That is a significant number of meals that helps families,” said Tilford.

The meals will continue each Friday through the end of June.