Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Constant on Thursday updated board of education members on how the district plans to report COVID-19 active cases among students and staff, particularly when students return to in-person classes.

The self-reported dashboard of COVID-19 cases within the OPS district for students in kindergarten through 12th grade, along with staff members, will be available on Monday.

The dashboard will be posted on the district website, and it will indicate the number of new cases for students and staff, as well as the number of quarantined students and staff. The dashboard is expected to be updated Monday through Friday, Constant told board members.

This is a dashboard that every school district across Kentucky is expected to self-report and update. It will also be the most-accurate “up to the minute” information available to families, Constant said.

“This is a searchable database from the state down to the school level,” he said.

Jared Revlett, OPS spokesman, said that typically how case reporting is handled at this time within the district is that Revlett himself, or another district official will hear from families themselves that they have tested positive, or come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. Revlett said, however, that the district is basing its numbers and actions on positive cases confirmed by the health department.

The health department is in daily communication with OPS officials, Revlett said, to ensure they have the most-accurate information.

Revlett also said that the district is not reporting the cases of students who opted for the district’s Virtual Academy, as those students are already not coming into contact with students and staff members who are and will be in school buildings. He also reminded families to pay attention to the active case numbers.

“There will be a running total number that will continually go up,” he said, citing that all cases from March until now will be noted, but that most pertinent will be current and active cases.

Daviess County Public Schools unveiled its dashboard for reporting virus cases last week. Their dashboard is available on the DCPS district website at daviess.kyschools.us. The website breaks down active cases for students and staff per school, as well as those who have recovered. It also shows data for students currently enrolled in the DCPS Virtual Academy, and/or experiencing non-traditional instruction at this time due to quarantines. The DCPS dashboard is updated on Tuesdays and Fridays.

There were also a number of parents in the audience at the board meeting who had concerns about their students still being at home, and had questions about when district officials thought all students would be returning to in-person learning.

OPS students who opted for the AB schedule are expected to begin in-person learning on Oct. 12, but several students are meeting in small groups with their teachers when necessary.

Constant said that he understands parents’ frustrations and concerns, but that at this point, per restrictions set in place by the state, the district won’t be able to physically distance students if they were at full capacity.

“(With the) guidance we have right now with masking 100% and 6 feet of distance between kids, we logistically don’t have space,” Constant said. “In fact, some of our schools are so large with enrollment that even half of those kids in a classroom space is going to be challenging.”

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

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

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