Kentucky: The Largest School District Brings Back Masking Requirements

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As of Monday, the most populous county in Kentucky has returned to the red zone for COVID-19, which means that the state’s biggest public school district has brought back its policy requiring students to wear masks.

After the county’s COVID spread reached the red level, the state’s highest level, Jefferson County Public Schools announced the change of policy. The Kentucky Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have told the district to take precautions in areas where the disease is common.

The mask policy applies to all JCPS facilities as well as the buses. In addition, the school district will have masks available for any students, staff, or guests who may need one.

Also, the JCPS COVID Guidance Plan, which was approved by the Jefferson County Board of Education last week, says that children and adults who qualify for the exemption may not have to wear masks.

JCPS plans to conduct classes in person five days a week when the district’s schools resume classes on August 10.

The guidance plan emphasizes the need to provide students with both classroom education and emotional assistance.

People on social media were divided on whether or not to support or condemn the move to bring back face masks.

When it came to Kentucky’s new governor, it was met with outrage. “Countless times it has been proven that cloth masks do NOT reduce the transmission of a virus. Instead, they interfere with our children’s ability to focus, learn, and properly communicate with each other. 1 in 7 of KY’s students attend JCPS- and parents are justifiably furious,” state Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, tweeted.

During the weekly briefing he gave at the conclusion of the previous week, Governor Andy Beshear pointed out that the number of reported cases throughout the state was on the rise. He urged parents to get their children vaccinated and to consider giving them a booster shot as well. “We just want people to have the information to be able to make the best decision that they can,” the governor said. “I want as normal of a school year as we can get. Just remember, if numbers are up, the more boosted we are, the more likely we are to have the most normal school year possible.”

More than two-thirds of Kentuckians, or almost 3 million people, have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to statistics from the Kentucky Department of Public Health, and around 2.6 million people, or about 57%, are deemed completely vaccinated. In spite of this, just 1.2 million people have gotten a booster injection. A complete vaccination rate of no more than 48 percent is seen in any of Kentucky’s school-age demographic groups.