Being in any type of leadership position during the COVID-19 pandemic is extremely difficult. Tough decisions have to be made and these decisions aren’t always going to be popular. In a situation that has become highly polarizing, making a decision regarding this pandemic opens these leaders to criticism.
But those decisions have to be made, so I have a lot of respect for the people who make them.
One of those individuals is Russell County Schools Superintendent Michael Ford.
Ford has a job that I do not envy in the least bit. Leading a school district of more than 3,100 students plus teachers, administrators, faculty, and staff is not easy. Throw in a pandemic and that job gets infinitely more difficult.
But Ford has handled this pandemic from a superintendent’s position as well as anyone could ask, and should be commended for making the decision for the school district to continue with virtual instruction this week.
I know that wasn’t an easy decision to make, and one that I’m sure was thought upon and prayed upon for a long time.
Last week, Russell County fell just outside of the red zone for a couple days, meaning it would’ve been easy to send students back into school this week. However, Ford opted to remain virtual another week and it seems that was the right call, as cases are going up locally and across the Lake Cumberland District.
Many people want students in Russell County to return to in-person instruction. I do too, and I’m certain Ford and the members of the Russell County Board of Education would agree, but it’s best to wait until the community is in a much better place with the spread of COVID-19. At the end of the day, making sure that our students and teachers in this community remain healthy and safe should be at the top of the priority list.
Who knows what the next week brings. In 2020, guessing what’s going to happen day-to-day is a dangerous game to play, but in my opinion, Ford deserves respect and the benefit of the doubt from the community for decisions to come. He’s shown time and time again that the well-being of the students and school staff comes first, and decisions that are made (even though unpopular with some people) will reflect that.
That’s what I want to see from the person leading our schools in Russell County.
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