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More Than Half of Kentucky School Districts Still Requiring Masks, Despite Reprieve from Legislature

J. Tyler Franklin

Masking requirements are staying in place for many Kentucky school districts, despite the General Assembly revoking a statewide mask mandate for school systems during a special legislative session last week.

Warren County Public Schools implemented a mask policy on Aug. 11 before Gov. Andy Beshear’s executive order or the Kentucky Department of Education’s emergency regulation. The decision was legal under the school district’s authority, and is not affected by the General Assembly’s passage of SB 1, which returned the authrority to make masking decisions to local school boards.

In a special meeting Tuesday night, the Warren County Board of Education approved a recommendation from Superintendent Rob Clayton to extend the school system's univeral mask requirement through at least October.

“This will allow us the opportunity to monitor exposures related to fall break activities as our historical data reflects the increase in exposures and quarantines after extended breaks from school," Clayton said.

Warren County schools have seen a substantial drop in quarantines and positive COVID-19 cases since it began requiring masks. At the time, quarantine numbers reached as high as 1,900 students, while students testing positive for COVID-19 was as high as 337. 

Currently, WCPS has 375 students in quarantine and 168 students who are COVID-19 positive. 

The Bowling Green Independent School District also voted this week to continue requiring masks for students, staff, and visitors. Owensboro and Daviess County Public Schools are keeping masking in place, as well, but will continue to evaluate school and community disease trends. 

The Elizabethtown Independent and Hardin County school districts will continue their mask mandates as long as Hardin County's COVID-19 incidence rate is 50 or above.

According to the Kentucky School Boards Association, 90 of the state’s 171 public school districts had decided to continue with mask mandates as of Tuesday afternoon.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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