Kentucky is currently in Phase 1a of its vaccination plan in regards to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Phase 1a includes those residing in long-term care and assisted living facilities, as well as health care personnel.

According to Dawson Springs Independent Schools Supt. Leonard Whalen, the local health department is optimistic that Phase 1b of the vaccination plan will begin around the first part of February. Phase 1b of vaccinations in the Commonwealth’s plan targets first responders, Kentuckians aged 70 or older, and personnel in Kentucky’s schools (grades K-12).

“About 40% out of our 104 staff members wanted to take it,” said Whalen in regards to the vaccine.

The current plan for the school district is to continue with Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) through Jan. 15. At its most recent meeting, the Dawson Springs Board of Education approved Jan. 19 as the date that students will return to the Eli Street campus for in-person instruction on a hybrid rotation model.

“We have our purple group on Tuesday and Wednesday — Jan. 19 and 20 — that week and have our gold group on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 21 and 22,” said Whalen.

“As for me and my staff, we are eagerly awaiting for Jan. 19 to see our students in the building,” said Todd Marshall, principal of the Jr./Sr. High School.

“Words cannot express how excited we are here at DSES to get the students back in our classroom in-person,” said Principal Jennifer Ward. “The anticipation of waiting on our students to return in-person is beyond words, as we absolutely cannot wait to get our kids back in the building with us.”

“We’re pumped about Jan. 19,” said Whalen. “We’re excited to welcome the kids back.”

The district’s leader does remain concerned about the numbers of local positive cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise, and is well aware that many local families share his concerns.

“All students and parents have the option to remain on virtual instruction,” said Whalen.

“At this time, we have 87 students who are still completing their work through the full virtual platform,” said Ward of the elementary school. “Teachers are continuing to teach these students the same manner they are all other students who are on the Purple/Gold rotation--the instruction is no different.”

Out of a total student body of 255 across the pavement at the Jr/Sr. High School, “We currently have 61 students who have chosen to remain virtual for the second semester,” said Marshall.

“The district goal has always been to come back on the rotation and then get back to full five-day-a-week instruction as soon as we can,” said Whalen.