The Lyon County Board of Education convened for a special called meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8, to discuss a revised COVID-19 school plan and give renovation updates.

With a reported 90% unvaccinated school population, Superintendent Russ Tilford said he believes being aggressive and prepared outweighs being conservative and naive.

He told the board he hopes the state will allow local boards of education to administer regulations and establish COVID-19 protocol based on local data and local health guidance.

“We can’t deny that COVID is at a peak, and more so than what we expected at the start of the school year,” Tilford said.

On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear reported Kentucky ranked third in the nation for the highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases per capita, with a seven-day average of approximately 90 new cases reported per 100,000 people.

Until the board reconvenes for their regular meeting later this month to dissect, discuss, and take action on Senate Bill 1, which passed on Thursday, they moved to “to implement measures that will allow for the successful operation of in-person learning, including reduction of the number of students quarantined.”

The revised plan is based on Lyon County metrics and guidance from the Pennyrile District Health Department and the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

The plan indicates assigned seating, prohibiting non-essential visits, enhancing social distancing, and implementing other measures when the current incidence rate for the county is red — high.

According to the plan, “Once a higher level of incidence rate is reached, the measures will stay in place until the level is lower for three consecutive school days.”

Tilford informed the board, school athletics will continue to be governed by the Kentucky High School Association, KHSAA.

The revised plan indicates virtual instruction options remain available to students. He noted universal mask-wearing on buses remains in effect.

Additional initiatives include the Test to Stay program, which provides staff and students an opportunity to avoid quarantining if a rapid negative test result is furnished on-site.

Another measure the board may implement is remote learning for a specific school, grade or classroom. This option enables other schools to resume in-person instruction while another school is quarantining.

In other business, Tilford gave a renovation update. “I appreciate the diligence, hard work, and commitment.”

He noted some of the projects remain incomplete, but the high school is operational and instruction continues.

The 2021-22 school year started on the Tuesday after Labor Day, as expected. Tilford and the board saw that as an achievement.

Tilford informed the board the entire renovation project exceeded the estimated cost, however, the results are invaluable, and the updates advance both school morale and instruction.