Owensboro Catholic Schools officials have decided on Aug. 26 as a start date for in-person classes for the 2020-21 school year.

That is two weeks later than originally planned — a delay that will allow OCS to better prepare for re-opening following the closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school system traditionally has followed the same schedule as Daviess County Public Schools as the two have an agreement regarding transportation of OCS students. Daviess County schools also announced its in-person start-date for next school year would be Aug. 26.

David Kessler, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Owensboro, said he is excited about getting back to face-to-face instruction because that’s a big part of the Catholic school experience.

“Being able to share our faith with other students in the building is a big part of what we do,” he said. “We will do everything we can to make that happen.”

According to Keith Osborne, OCS chief administrative officer, the new start date will not impact the rest of the school calendar, and that fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas and spring breaks will continue as originally scheduled.

Osborne said in a letter to parents that the two-week extension will provide administrators with “time to educate and train teachers and staff for whatever new protocols and requirements will be in place to create the safest environment possible” for students, their families, teachers and staff.

Each week, OCS administrators and officials meet to go over potential scenarios and/or issues pertaining to re-open school, and that the school system will share more of those details with families as the start date nears, Osborne said.

“But as of today, this is the plan, and it may have to change,” he said, adding that the district intends to keep parents and guardians “in the loop every step of the way.”

Kessler said that there will be instructional time added to each school day, but that the specifics have not yet been decided.

He said “it won’t be a life-changing amount of time, but it will be slightly different” than in the past.

Owensboro Catholic Schools have been closed to in-person classes since March 13, and that has certainly caused hardships on families and educators, but Kessler said one thing has been positive — the collaboration and connection OCS has with neighboring school districts.

“It’s been great communicating with Owensboro Public Schools and Daviess County Public Schools, and working on many things for the future for new procedures for all of our students,” he said.

If anything the shared experience of the pandemic has strengthened the bond between administrators and students from each district, Kessler said, “as we work together to ensure we are helping this entire community, from parents to students and everyone involved.”

“Nobody has all the answers, but more heads are better than just one,” Kessler said.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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