The Christian County Public Schools Virtual Learning Academy was a big hit throughout the district when schools came back in late August. When the district returned to in-person instruction, parents had the option to keep their children at home to learn online.

Now, 692 VLA students will be returning to in-person instruction. CCPS Assistant Superintendent of Administration Laura Morris said Thursday at the Christian County Board of Education meeting that those students would be returning to classrooms Monday.

She added that the students were evenly spread around each school and grade level.

The district currently has 8,332 students enrolled. Of those students, 2,794 are enrolled in VLA.

Morris said the high number of returning students is “a real celebration.”

CCPS Superintendent Chris Bentzel has repeatedly said that one of the district’s main goals — other than the health and safety of students — is face-to-face instruction.

“I think that our schools have done a wonderful job education our students face to face at this point,” Morris said. “Our parents feel comfortable bringing our students back.”

Students returned from fall break Monday. At a COVID-19 press update Tuesday, CCPS Assistant Superintendent Josh Hunt said the district is monitoring for a possible increase in cases.

Hunt said Tuesday the district has not seen an uptick in cases. The daily CCPS COVID-19 dashboard Thursday shows four in-person students with active cases of the virus, one more student than the dashboard showed Tuesday.

Bentzel thanked CCPS staff members, students and family members for practicing virus safety over the break.

“We’re still waiting to see some of the fallout, for the positive cases, quarantines after fall break,” he said. “Hopefully we’re past that.”

Bentzel said that the district sees a need to start bringing back all middle school students — excluding VLA students — to full-time, in-person instruction.

He said that his team has spoken with the middle-school leadership teams and parents about the possibility. But his team didn’t only ask the opinions of adults, Bentzel said.

“We’ve talked to students at the middle schools,” he said. “And they’re ready to come back.”

He said if all of the middle-school students came back to full in-person instruction, it would be around 550 students at Christian County Middle School and around 420 at Hopkinsville Middle School.

He did not bring a motion to the school board about returning to instruction. He only asked them to begin thinking about the possibility.

He said, depending on how the case numbers looked, he may bring it officially to the board at the Nov. 5 board workshop meeting.

He said the tentative date to possibly bring middle school students back would be Nov. 16. If that plan works, he said, the district will look at possibly bringing high-school students back some time late 2020 or early 2021.

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