Back in School

We’re back!

Backpack with school supplies
Jefferson County Public Schools returned to five days a week, in-person classes on August 11th. Reopening our buildings and classrooms to all students, every school day, will provide a return to normalcy and promote learning in a way that we couldn’t do last school year due to the pandemic. 

Most schools are having fun, informative back-to-school events for students and families at the beginning of the school year. Here’s a list of the schools along with the dates and times for their events. Keep checking this web page for updated dates and times for your school. 

For a look at what a typical school day might look like for students, watch this video.

We hope this BACK TO SCHOOL web page will provide you with the information you need as your child gets back to school. 

Checklist for sending your child back to school

Here are a few questions and  reminders to get your child ready for the first day of in-person classes during the 2021-22 school year: 

students work on project at desk using paste and scissors
  • Do you know what time school starts for your child? At most JCPS elementary schools, the hours are 9:05 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. At most middle and high schools, hours are 7:40 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.

  • Have you confirmed your child’s transportation arrangements? If your child is walking or biking, have you discussed safety precautions regarding traffic and strangers? If your child is riding a bus, have you talked about safety issues and behavior expectations? 

  • Have you talked to your child about following the mask guidelines on school busses and inside school buildings to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 in their school?

  • Has your child developed any health problems since March 2020 that will affect his or her school day? If so, have you notified school staff? If your child needs to take medication at school, have you made arrangements?

  • Have you checked with the school about the supplies your child will need? Here is a list of the basic supplies students will need.
  • Do you know if your child’s school has a dress code? Will your child need different clothes for physical education or art classes? 

  • Have you filled out health, emergency contact, and other forms that have been sent home? You can find many of these forms in the Parent Place webpage or on the School Health Requirements web page.
  • Have you established an earlier bedtime to help your child get back on an in-school schedule, including time to get to school? 

  • Have you signed up with the district’s School Messenger alert system so you will receive emergency notifications and other important information? Have you signed up for SchoolCNXT to receive updates from your child’s school.

Family Contact Information Request. parent holding an iphone

Families are encouraged to update their contact information. Let your child's school know the easiest ways to contact you in case of emergency OR if a teacher or school administrator needs to reach you. 

COVID 19 health guidelines

The Jefferson County Board of Education has opted to follow the most recent guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Governor Andy Beshear and the Kentucky Board of Education. 

The guidance includes:

  • Masks are required in all JCPS buildings, regardless of the vaccination status of the student, teacher, staff or visitor
  • Masks are required on all school buses, regardless of vaccination status
  • Waivers to the mask policy are available for students with medical issues 
  • 3 feet distance between students in classrooms, when possible, to improve contact tracing
  • Social distancing will be promoted in hallways and common areas 
  • COVID-19 tests available in schools
  • In the cafeteria, students will have assigned seats to facilitate contact tracing. In an effort to provide some spacing between students, some schools may find other areas for students to eat, such as a gymnasium, empty classroom or outside. 
  • Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the school and students will have plenty of handwashing opportunities

Students or staff will be excluded from school and sent home if they have any of these COVID-19 symptoms including:

  • Fever or chills
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Other symptoms can be found at this CDC website

When a student displays signs of COVID-19, tests positive or is deemed a close contact of a person who has COVID-19, JCPS has a number of steps it follows to ensure the student, classmates, teacher and family are well-informed and safe. For more information about the protocols we're following, contact tracing, and quarantining click here. 

Families with students in a class where there is a case of COVID-19 will be notified with recommendations from health officials. Families can also find the number of cases and contacts at each school on the JCPS COVID-19 Dashboard. For the 2021-22 school year, this dashboard will be updated every Friday. 

Students who are quarantined

Students who test positive for COVID-19 or are considered close contacts will be quarantined. This short video explains what happens next for your child if they are quarantined.  

For more information on how students who are quarantined will continue learning, click here.

More information about our back-in-school plans can be found in A New Way Forward: Next Steps.

Riding the bus - key points
  • girl getting on bus as bus driver looks on
    Students will be required to wear a mask at all times on the bus unless they have a medical waiver

  • Masks will be available to students who don't have one
  • Hand sanitizer will be available on every bus
  • Drivers will clean buses between routes

Finding the right school bus

Families will receive information about their child’s bus route. Families can also find their child’s bus number and bus stop through our Bus Finder app. 

 

Pathfinder School of Innovation bar

Online teacher pointing at white board on student laptop screen
For those students who excelled in the virtual school environment or whose families prefer the potential health protections of learning from home, JCPS is launching the Pathfinder School of Innovation  this year. Pathfinder's classes will be on-line, five days each week. For more information about Pathfinder for grades 6-12, click here.

We have also received approval from the Kentucky Department of Education to offer an online option to students in grades K-5 this year, For more information about this option, click here.   

Schools will ensure that any student with a disability that requires a medical waiver will receive appropriate accommodations.

Schools will have specialized PPE for therapists and ECE staff who are in close contact with students for toileting or other health supports

Schools have plans for safe handling/disinfecting of specialized items such as wheelchairs or devices

Early childhood
  • child holding book while wearing mask with pencil and scissors on the desk.
    The first day of classes for Early Childhood is August 25
  • Smaller mask sizes have been purchased for younger students

  • Structured routines will be developed for mask breaks, socially distanced when possible.

  • Students will remain with the same small group/buddies of students for meals, playground and desk-based activities. 


 

  • click on this image to view pdf of document

Frequently asked questions

If I want my student to continue learning virtually, what do I need to do?

See the section on the Pathfinder School of Innovation above.

Does my child need proof of a negative COVID-19 test to get into school?

No. 

Will the whole class have to quarantine if there is a positive case in the classroom?

Not necessarily. JCPS in conjunction with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness has contact tracing that will guide the decisions on which students and staff might need to quarantine. Staff or students who are fully vaccinated will not be required to quarantine if they are not exhibiting symptoms. 

What will happen if my child’s teacher has to quarantine?

If your child’s teacher has to quarantine for 10 or more days a substitute teacher will work in the classroom.  

Will all classrooms have desks 3 feet apart?

Not necessarily. We are making every effort to keep the number of desks and tables in each classroom spaced out across the room. But we know there will be instances when that is not possible. Recent studies have concluded, and national experts agree, that students taking precautions such as wearing masks all the time, frequently washing hands and avoiding gathering in groups keeps community spread from students in school at a minimum.  

My child had a mask waiver last year -- does that still qualify for this year, or do they need a new one?

The student mask waiver form should be completed by their health care provider. They can also bring a letter or prescription from their health care provider. If the school already has a waiver from the health care provider on file in Infinite Campus, a new waiver is not needed for the school year. Here's the form to request a medical waiver. 

Will students still be spaced apart on buses?

While many buses will Many buses will be at or near capacity. Students will have assigned seats to improve contact tracing and be required to wear masks at all times. 

How far apart will students be spaced in school?

Students will be spaced at least three feet apart when practicable.

Will I be required to take my child’s temperature before they ride a bus or go to school?

No, but we ask that if your child doesn't feel good, keep them home and get them tested.

If I enroll my student in the online school but choose not to continue it after a year (or if it’s discontinued by the district), can my child go back to the school they came from, or will they go back into lottery for schools?

Students in grades 6-12 who enroll in the Pathfinder School of Innovation are enrolling in an entirely new school that will continue into the future. The online school for K-5 students would be a one year program only so they would return to their "home" school. 

Can parents/ guardians and community members visit schools?

Yes

Can parents/ guardians and community members volunteer at school functions?

Yes

Will my child be allowed to participate in field trips this year?

At this time, field trips are allowed.

School Meals

All students will receive free school meals this year regardless of their family income or the school they attend. 

Students will go through the cafeteria line to pick up lunches. Schools are working to maximize the distance between students while they are eating. Some schools will offer grab-n-go breakfasts. Schools with small cafeterias may also allow students to eat in alternate locations like a gymnasium or outdoors.

Meals for Pathfinder students will be available for pickup on Thursdays at ten school locations for JCPS students who are officially enrolled in the Pathfinder School of Innovation: Dawson-Orman Early Childhood Center, Whitney Young Elementary School, Watson Lane Elementary, Southern High School, Kammerer Middle School, Jefferson County Traditional Middle School, Klondike, Kennedy Montessori, Shacklette, and Zachary Taylor Elementary.  Parents or guardians of Pathfinder students must fill out this form for their child to be eligible for the meals.

More updates on 2021-22 meal service can be found here.

  • Many other meal features and options will continue:
    • After school snacks and suppers will be available for qualified after-school programs. 
    • At middle and high schools, vending machines will be open for a la carte sales, but branded pizza will not be on the menu this year. The district is working to bring it back as soon as possible.

Fast facts about JCPS

Demographics
teacher standing in front of classroom talking to students seated at desks

  • Jefferson County Public Schools is a community of more than 96,000 students and 17,000 employees, including 6,700 teachers.

  • More than 144 countries are listed as birthplaces for current JCPS students, and 138 languages are spoken by JCPS students. 

  • 12,655 special education students attend JCPS.

  • 66 percent of JCPS students qualify for free or reduced-price meals. 

  • 4,915 students in JCPS are believed to be experiencing homelessness or an unstable living environment. 

  • It is one of the top 30 largest districts in the country and the largest district in Kentucky. 

  • 1 in 7 Kentucky students attend JCPS.

  • 85 percent of JCPS teachers have Masters Degrees


Schools

JCPS has 168 schools that serve the city of Louisville.

  • 92 elementary schools

  • 26 middle schools

  • 21 high schools

  • 2 middle and high combined
  • 27 special/alternative schools