LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — School districts across the bluegrass have more flexibility to deal with snow days and the COVID-19 pandemic.  

When road conditions are slick, the school districts have ten non-traditional instruction days they can activate. That means students can work from home and districts won’t have to make up the days later.

Public schools have a total of 20 NTI days to use throughout the school year. Ten days for bad weather and ten days if a school has a COVID-19 outbreak.

Following this year’s winter storms several Kentucky school districts are canceling in-person learning and activating their non-traditional instruction. This happens when roads are undrivable due to icy conditions.

“I think what makes NTI days most effective right now is the fact that students have already made personal connections with their teachers, and they have been doing so well with in-person instruction so that makes the small number of NTI days much more effective for our students,” said Jessamine County School District Superintendent Matt Moore.

Since having two winter storms back-to-back. Jessamine county schools are now on their fourth NTI day, all of them weather-related.

“I think that it is really important for us to keep our students in person as much as we can. But we are also aware of the fact that we make sure that we are not making calls that would jeopardize our students and staff safety,” said Moore.

The NTI days are slightly different from remote learning. Students in Madison County schools can have a break from actually being in class for a long period of time.

“And our middle and high school students typically can do an online google classroom-type of format. They just have a series of assignments to complete and our teachers are available through google classroom, email, or phone,” said a spokesperson for Madison County schools, Erin Stewart.

Gov. Andy Beshear signed Senate Bill 25 into law last Friday morning. This bill allows school districts to have an additional ten remote days at their disposal if a COVID-19 outbreak were to happen in schools.

“We have not yet, we do have those expanded days this year, and what is different about that scenario is if we need to use it for COVID, we can use NTI for building specific. So if we have one school or two schools that are having a big influx of COVID cases we can use NTI just at that specific school,” said Stewart.