When the Ashland Board of Education voted to resume in-person classes on Sept. 28 — rather than earlier as some parents would have liked — board members seemed to have had no choice; Gov. Andy Beshear’s directive to delay classes was seen by some board members as a threat, putting the school district in danger of state shutdown if it didn’t comply.
There also were concerns about the district being sued if classes resumed in August and any students contracted COVID-19. Parents’ concerns included child well-being, personal freedom and the exaggeration of the virus’s threat.
The board was between a rock and a hard place, but in the end, the safe thing to do was delay in-person classes — it’s the safe thing for student health and the district’s health.
With such conflicting information and little to no leadership at various levels of government, making decisions about how to react to the virus is understandably difficult and confusing. Add to that parents who feel their children are suffering by not being in class. Add to that the impending doom radiating from state government, giving board members the feeling they must delay resuming school as usual — or else.
So the board agreed on the delay in a 4-1 vote. Bruce Morrison, David Latherow, Patsy Lindsey and Mark McCarty voted yes; Don Ashby voted no.
It was a difficult decision at a time when no one knows what the right answers are, but we hope delaying a return to the classroom was the right answer for all involved.
However, if the board feels pressure to delay classes now, be prepared for more pressure later. It’s likely the date for resuming class will be delayed again, depending on the progression of COVID-19.