Here in Kentucky, Gov. Beshear is not messing around and is joining Ohio's Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in calling for K-12 schools to close as a COVID-19 response.
Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday asked public and private schools in Kentucky to, as of Monday, cease in person classes for at least two weeks to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
On Wednesday, Beshear had warned Kentucky school superintendents that they should be ready to close their districts on short notice, within 72 hours if need be. Superintendents have this week been reaching out to the Kentucky Department of Education to apply to the state’s non-traditional instruction program that allows students to learn from home.
Eight confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including five in Harrison County, two in Fayette and one in Jefferson, had been reported by 5 p.m. Thursday. But Beshear said at a news conference he thought there had been two more positive test results in Kentucky, one in Jefferson and one in Fayette.
Kentucky Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Brown appeared at a 5 p.m. news conference that Beshear held and said he supported the recommendation to close schools.
Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk did not immediately comment.
Caulk previously said that if necessary, the district would be prepared to close, including providing educational activities and learning opportunities for students while they were at home. However, Fayette officials were for several days pointing to advice from local health department officials who previously said there was not a public health risk at district schools.
Several Kentucky school districts announced Thursday that they would be closed for nearly a month and Lexington’s Catholic Christ the King Elementary School is closed on Friday.
Elsewhere in the United States, Ohio public schools will be closed for three weeks, officials announced.
If anyone is wondering what difference it does make having Beshear instead of a Matt Bevin second term, the answer is "COVID-19 response or total lack thereof".
Former Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin appeared to mock growing nationwide concerns over the coronavirus in a tweet Wednesday as the state braces for the closure of schools along with calls to suspend religious services.
"Breaking news: Chicken Little has just confirmed that the sky is indeed falling," he tweeted. "Everyone is advised to take cover immediately and to bring lots of toilet paper with them when they do so."
Bevin, a Republican, could not be immediately reached for comment about the tweet.
Things are not going well for Matt these days.
The former governor was extensively criticized. Responders to the tweet seemed to take it as a shot at Gov. Andy Beshear, who defeated Bevin in the Kentucky gubernatorial election in November.
Most responses claimed Bevin would not be handling the coronavirus situation well, and many said they thought Kentucky voters made the right choice by voting Bevin out of office in November.
There no doubt in my mind that Bevin would refuse to close school or to do anything, leaving it up to KY Republicans in the General Assembly, to pass legislation. Of course, they're too busy passing unconstitutional anti-choice laws trying to close the last abortion clinic in the state to do anything about COVID-19.
Just because Bevin's gone, doesn't mean Bevinstan is totally gone either. But it's a nice start.