Russellville Independent schools on Friday announced that students would begin going to school in-person on Monday, Sept. 28.

“We plan to open on the timeline per Governor Beshear’s recommendation,” interim superintendent Leon Smith said. “Because of the large number of students enrolled in our Virtual Learning Academy, we feel confident we can provide a safe environment to return all P-5 NTI students on that date. Russellville Middle School and Russellville High School will return in an A/B model as Warren County, Bowling Green and Logan County have done. Virtual Learning Academy students will remain online at this time, and if parents/students on VLA want to return to in-person instruction, they would be able to return on November 2 which is the start of our second quarter.”

Smith said that lunch tables and desks at Stevenson Elementary have been set up with plexiglass dividers that will allow students to return safely to school.

“They will be in their own little cubicles and we will be able to keep them more separated,” Smith said.

With a significant portion of the students in the district opting for the Virtual Learning Academy, Smith said that most classes at Stevenson would be under 20 students.

The middle and high school would not be able to be as separated, however, which led to the decision to bring those students back on a hybrid model.

“With the way the cafeteria is set up there and having students changing classes all day — it would just be hard to bring everyone back at one,” Smith said. “With using a model similar to other school districts around us, we feel like this might be a smoother start back.”

Russellville will stick with the current calendar which has fall break on October 5-9. Meals will continue to be provided for VLA students with pick up at Stevenson Elementary and Russellville High School. More information regarding meal pickup times will be sent out as soon as those times can be established.

Each school will be providing additional information for their respective schools during the next two weeks. Teachers will also provide instructions and updates for students during daily online classes.

“I want to compliment all staff members of the Russellville School system for their extreme hard work since August 12,” Smith said. “The efforts by our staff reaching out to over 1,100 students and working tirelessly to provide fresh hot meals and instruction during this time are commendable. Also, a deep appreciation to all parents who have worked to support us during these difficult times; we recognize that parents are struggling as well. We are going to work hard to adhere to the Center for Disease Control guidelines to provide a safe environment and ask parents to support us in that effort.”