A new bill passed by the Kentucky state senate will allow current high school seniors to take on an extra year of high school and athletic eligibility in 2021-22.
Senate Bill 128, sponsored by Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, allows high school students to stay in school for another year if they choose to due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting academics and athletics, according to the Courier-Journal. The bill was passed by a vote of 36-0 and expands all the way down to kindergarten.
As part of the bill, students would be able to re-take or supplement classes they’ve taken if they feel their academic standing has been compromised by the coronavirus pandemic. Student-athletes would also be granted a fifth year of eligibility.
“In short, the bill is about offering opportunity,” Wise said.
The expectation is that only a small amount of students will take advantage of the bill, with the majority opting to move on from high school at the conclusion of the school year.
The bill now heads to the House Education Committee and the full House before being signed by Gov. Andy Beshear. If the bill is enacted, local school boards will decide if they will grant the extra year to students.
“For local school boards to have additional tools in the toolbox,” said Josh Shoulta, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association. “SB 128 would potentially empower them to more effectively address their unique circumstances and to take action to boost their local recovery efforts.
“We certainly sympathize with all students — and certainly high school seniors — who have been deprived of many important traditional aspects of learning, many of which are arguably irreplaceable and integral to success after graduation.”