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LOUISA, Ky -- At approximately 10:07 AM  Tuesday, March 8, Emergency Management officials and  the National Weather Service, partnering with  Kentucky Weather Preparedness Committee will issue a TORNADO WARNING test message.

Warning sirens will sound, weather alert radios will activate and television and radio stations will broadcast the alert message at this time across Kentucky communities including Louisa and Lawrence County according to Harold Slone, Director of Emergency Management.

The broadcast test message will emphasize this is only a test of the alert system, as schools across the commonwealth use this time to conduct their annual statewide tornado drill.  During the test message alert, Slone urges all Lawrence County Citizens, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes and government agencies to practice their tornado safety drill and update their emergency plan.

The NWS has confirmed two tornadoes have touched down in Kentucky in the recent episode of storms.

“We are not exempt from tornadoes in Kentucky and need to prepared when and if it happens” says Director Slone.

If you do not have a plan in place, we ask you consider these guidelines:

  • KYEM and NWS recommend designating a tornado shelter in an interior room on the lowest level of a building, away from windows.  Basements are best, but if there is no basement, choose an interior bathroom, closet or other enclosed space on the lowest level of a building.
  • Tell everyone where the designated shelter is and post the location.

To conduct a drill at home or work:

* Announce the start of the drill.

* Participants should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area or a tornado has been sighted nearby. They should move as quickly as possible to the designated tornado shelter.

* Once people reach pre-designated safe areas, they should crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down, covering their heads with their hands.

* Once everyone has reached safe shelter, announce the mock tornado has passed and the drill is over.

* After the drill, perform an assessment.  Determine whether the shelter you chose was large enough for everyone, easy to get to and uncluttered.  Remember that tornadoes strike at all hours, and you might not have the benefit of being fully awake when a tornado warning comes.

KYEM is offering an ONLINE SURVEY form that each participate is encouraged to fill out and submit.  This information will be used to help determine the effectiveness of the drill, ways to improve readiness and alert notifications.

Governor Steve Beshear signed a proclamation designating March as Severe Weather Awareness Month in Kentucky.  The tornado safety drill is one of several local readiness activities in conjunction with the proclamation.

The survey, additional information, weather safety tips, helpful links and resources can be found on the KYEM website, at:www.kyem.ky.gov/weather.

Online education, which can be an effective tool for leveling the playing field for rural schools, is catching on accross the country. "A combination of higher proficiency standards and tighter budgets are prompting school officials to look more closely than ever at online education," David Harrison of Stateline.org reports. Susan Patrick, president of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, told him, "Budgets are being cut. We can’t do more with less by continuing to do the same thing we’ve always done."

Just two states do not offer online courses. In most schools online courses are blended with in-school classes, "but 27 states allow students to attend virtual schools full-time," Harrison writes. "Online courses allow students to work at their own pace, with advanced students moving through the curriculum quickly while others might get more of the attention they need from teachers."

Online education allows poor rural districts to still offer advanced classes without having to recruit specialized teachers. "The National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers’ union, has embraced online learning, provided it’s taught by licensed and trained teachers and as long as it doesn’t completely replace in-school teaching," Harrison writes.

State-run virtual education programs enrolled roughly 450,000 students last year up from 40 percent the year before, the online learning group reports. Florida and North Carolina lead the way; Florida enrolled 220,000 online students, while North Carolina has the fastest growing program, now reaching 80,000, Harrison reports. (Read more)

Posted by Jon Hale

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