Paintsville Independent Schools Superintendent David Gibson, PHS Principal Tiffany Austin and PES Principal Katy Webb took to YouTube on Sept. 21 to discuss the in person return to their schools.

“Being safe is not just for our students, but it’s also for faculty and staff,” said Gibson. “Anxiety levels will be very high for our students as they come back into the buildings next week and in order to make sure that they feel comfortable and that they feel safe in our buildings when they return next week, the first phase will be a transition phase.”

“In order for us to have continuity in services and to be able to stay in-person as long as we possibly can and to be able to have athletics the way we want to, it’s important that every person does their part in following the protocols we’ve set in place,” he continued.

Gibson then noted that students or employees should stay home if experiencing a fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, recent loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, or has had a positive COVID-19 test result in the past 14 days or has had contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.

Gibson said that masks will be mandatory for students (over age 6) and staff, temperature checks will be completed before riding a bus or entering either school, seating charts will be required on buses, in classrooms and at lunch, healthy meals will be provided free of charge for the 2020-2021 school year, and that the district can transition all students to virtual learning should COVID-19 cases increase locally, within the school system, or in the case of severe weather.

The school calendar for Sept. 28 through Oct. 30 will look different this school year. Gibson shared that Sept. 28 and 29 will serve as in-person/virtual learning days for K-3 and 9-12 only with grades 4-6 and 7-8 utilizing online TIGER Instructional Days. Then, on Sept. 30-Oct. 1, grades 4-6 and 7-8 will meet for in-person/virtual and K-3 and 9-12 will utilize online TIGER Instructional Days. Oct. 2 will serve as a TIGER Instructional Day for all students.

On Oct. 5 through 8, all students will meet for in-person/ virtual learning. Oct. 9 will then serve as a TIGER Instructional Day for all grades.

“We need to make sure that our kids are comfortable and will be acclimated to everything we’re going to have to do to keep everyone safe in our buildings,” Gibson said.

PES Principal Katy Webb shared, “I am excited to have the opportunity to have students back in the building. I just want to assure you that our school is committed to two things, as always.” Those two things, she stated, are safety and a top-notch education.

PHS Principal Tiffany Austin shared, “I want to start by saying thank you for all the hard work our students, faculty and staff have committed these past few weeks with our NTI learning and getting our school year started. We are so excited to have students to return to the building.”

For more information on the protocols each school will have in place for returning to in-person  next week, check out the YouTube link at,, or call PES at, (606) 789-2650, or PHS at, (606) 789-2656.

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