Concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, have led to a number of cancellations and postponements of local interest.

The Garden Club of Kentucky state convention — scheduled to take place in Paducah on March 24-26 at the Holiday Inn Riverfront and the Walker Hall Events Center — was canceled.

State President Donna Smith of Middlesboro posted a message to club members on the organization’s website.

“After consulting with several of you and hearing your concerns about the COVID-19 virus, I have made the decision to cancel our 2020 GCKY convention in Paducah,” the message read.

Carolyn Roof, who has been a member of the Open Gate Garden Party of Paducah since 1970 and was an adviser to the state convention, said the decision was made by Smith and convention chair Gloria Galloway of Mayfield.

“After we canceled, we found out there were four other state conventions that canceled (Tuesday), also,” she said. “I just got a note that said that four buses from New Jersey that had made arrangements to have meals at Walker during the quilt show have canceled.”

Roof said the awards that would have been awarded at the state convention will be given out at district meetings held in the fall, adding that four of the regional awards will be given to clubs in Paducah’s district, known as the Audubon District.

Roof said that Paducah clubs have been working on the state convention since October 2018.

“This is the first time ever that we have canceled or postponed a convention,” she said. The Garden Club of Kentucky was incorporated in 1931. “It’s a big thing, and it’s all volunteer, so we’re kind of run ragged right now.”

The site of the state convention rotates among the five Kentucky districts; the next year it would be held in Paducah is 2025. Next year’s convention will be held in Berea.

“The timing for the committee was perfect because the last two weeks is when you really put in a concerted effort,” Roof said. “(If the convention were canceled) a day later, we would have to do a lot more canceling of orders, flowers and whatnot. It came at the right time for us.”

On a related note, the Posh Magazine Home and Garden Show — scheduled to be held March 20-21 at the Carroll Convention Center — is still on.

KDE offers NTI waivers

The Kentucky Department of Education announced Wednesday that it would provide applications to school districts for a waiver for Non-Traditional Instruction for districts not currently using the program.

The NTI Program encourages the continuation of academic instruction on days when school would otherwise be canceled, usually for snow or other weather-related reasons. Participating school districts create plans to deliver instruction to every student in the district and provide for student and teacher interaction on NTI days, with the ultimate goal of continuing instruction.

The commissioner of education may waive up to 10 NTI days to count toward student attendance days in the school districts’ calendars.

Districts would need to get approval from their school boards before submitting their applications. Eighty-three of the state’s 172 district were approved for NTI for the 2019-20 school year.

Locally, the McCracken County and Marshall County school districts have set special meetings to approve their applications for NTI days. McCracken County will meet at 8:30 a.m. Friday, and Marshall County will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Kindergarten Ready Fair postponed

The Kindergarten Ready Fair scheduled for March 28 at West Kentucky Community and Technical College has been postponed due to health concerns.

A new date has not yet been set for the event, originally set to be held in Haws Gymnasium.

“The Kindergarten Fair draws over 300 people,” said coordinator Robyn West in an email, “many of which are children whose immune systems are not as strong as those of adults.”

West added that the reason the event was postponed and not canceled is because it is funded by the Early Childhood grant awarded by the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood and the funding from that grant was already spent.

She said the McCracken County Community Early Childhood Council met on Wednesday and made the decision to postpone the event.

“The council and members from the two school districts, McCracken County Health Department and Paducah Head Start attending the meeting determined that the best course of action for the public event was to be proactive and not reactive, should an outbreak occur in our area,” West’s email read.

CDC awards $7.46M to Kentucky

The Centers for Disease Control awarded $7.46 million to Kentucky on Wednesday as part of a nationwide effort to help states contain and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Our state, local, tribal and territorial public health partners are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said. “The action we are taking will continue to support their efforts to increase public health capacity where it’s needed most.

“These funds will allow public health leaders to implement critical steps necessary to contain and mitigate spread of the virus in communities across the country.”

The funding is part of the $8.3 billion Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act signed Friday by President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, CDC contacted state health officers to move forward with awarding over $560 million to states, localities, territories and tribes.

Other states in this area that also received CDC funding on Wednesday included Illinois, $14.67 million; Missouri, $9.89 million; and Tennessee, $10.08 million.

Illinois has received a total of $17.42 million in funding from the CDC for coronavirus defense thus far.


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