OWENSBORO, Kentucky — The Catholic Schools Office for the Diocese of Owensboro has announced that in-person instruction will resume after the Christmas holidays.

The schools had transitioned from in-person instruction to virtual-only learning in late November, following an executive order from Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, which was in effect until Jan. 4 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“Our schools have worked to create a safe environment for students, faculty and staff members,” said David Kessler, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the diocese. “This same commitment will continue as we move into a new semester and a new year,” he said in a Dec. 17 statement.

Keith Osborne, chief administrative officer for Owensboro Catholic Schools, said the schools will reopen Jan. 5, and just as they did for in-person instruction at the start of the school year, they will “continue to strictly implement all safe at school protocols.”

He said the schools “transitioned seamlessly to virtual instruction as required, but our belief is that there is no replacement for in-person instruction.”

“We will monitor closely the situation in our community and will adapt, as necessary. Our families have done a really good job in making the right choices throughout this first semester to do their part in keeping our schools open, and I know we can continue to count on their complete support of our efforts,” he said in a statement.

In related reopening news, places of worship in California’s Los Angeles County is allowing places of worship to resume indoor services, with some restrictions. The Los Angeles County Health Officer Order was modified Dec. 19 to go along with recent Supreme Court rulings for houses of worship. The revised order said places of worship can offer indoor and outdoor services with mandatory physical distancing and face coverings.

Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, in Pasadena, filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s restrictions that prevented indoor worship services, which they said violated their First Amendment protections.

After the county posted its revised order, the church praised the decision, thanking its members on its Facebook page for their support and prayers.

Even though county officials gave the go-ahead for indoor worship services, they still urged churches to have outdoor services because of the “unprecedented surge” in COVID-19 cases. Los Angeles County is averaging more than 13,000 new COVID-19 infections daily.