Gov. Andy Beshear's executive order closing schools to in-person learning next week is drawing mixed reactions from school leaders around the state.

The Kentucky Education Association (KEA) praised Gov. Beshear's decision to close all private and public schools starting Nov. 23, calling it “a step which will save lives.”

Meanwhile, Kentucky Association of faculty Superintendents (KASS) Executive Director Jim Flynn said opinions vary among the state's 170-plus district leaders.

“There are a few which are relieved of this, after which I know there are several which are disappointed,” Flynn said.

Before Beshear's order, some districts decided to continue in-person instruction, despite finding yourself in the red zone, including Carroll County Schools.

“We are very disappointed and saddened to state our schools is going to be transitioning to distance learning,” said Carroll County Schools Superintendent Superintendent Danny Osborne in a statement. “Our intention ended up being to remain open as long as the spread of COVID inside our schools remained low. That being said, I actually do understand where Gov. Beshear is originating from with this particular directive.”

Many superintendents say they do not believe schools happen to be a significant source of spread.

“We've gotten reports from public nutritionists at both the local and state levels-.schools really aren't contributing to the surge,” Flynn said.

In Louisville, public nutritionists have made similar assurances. Louisville Metro Public Health Director Sarah Moyer has stated she's not seen proof of significant spread within the private schools that have been operating in-person in Jefferson County.

John Wright, communications director for Hardin County Schools, said he's heard the same from local health department officials and from Baptist Health Hardin.

“We've learned that,” he explained. “The uptick wasn't a school deal.”

Still, Hardin County was one of about 80 districts the Kentucky School Boards Association said had already announced they'd maintain remote learning next week, even before Beshear's order dropped. Wright said multiplication outside of school locally had forced a lot of staff to quarantine that the district struggled to function.

“We had approximately 40 classrooms that may 't be covered,” he said.

Hardin County Schools have been in remote instruction forever of November.

A similar situation has competed in districts over the state this month, including in Shelby County. Until now, the district have been holding in-person classes despite being in the red zone.

“Until this time, we weren't really seeing any COVID transmission in the schools,” Shelby County Schools Superintendent Sally Sugg said. “But i was seeing so many people which were on our staff quarantined simply because they had are exposed to someone out in the city which was COVID-positive that it was beginning to be considered a problem to even cover our classes.”

According to the state's K-12 Coronavirus Dashboard, more than 6,000 students and 1,100 staff were quarantined statewide a week ago.

Suggs, Wright and Flynn each urged community members to follow health guidelines that avoid the spread from the virus so that students can go back to the classroom.

“Unfortunately what goes on beyond school affects what goes on in school. And i believe this is exactly why we're where we are now,” Flynn said.

Meanwhile the Kentucky High School Athletic Association has decided to delay the beginning of the winter sports season. Many winter sports are played indoors, in which the virus spreads easier. Those sports include basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving, dance and competitive cheerleading.

The KHSAA board of control voted Wednesday to delay competition until Jan. 4, and official practices until Dec. 14.

Jefferson County Public Schools has suspended all skiing practices, official and unofficial, until Dec. 14. The district allows football teams to rehearse and compete in postseason play, though coronavirus infections and quarantine among athletes have previously forced several teams to drop out.