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State releases guidance for in-person schooling in Kentucky

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 11:46 AM EDT
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LINCOLN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - A new school year is right around the corner.

Many COVID-19 restrictions and mandates ended in June, but could they return for schools this coming year?

The Kentucky Department for Public Health released its guidance for K-12 schools for the upcoming year on Thursday.

State health officials are recommending masks for unvaccinated persons while indoors and in settings where most individuals are unvaccinated. They also say physical distancing of at least 3 feet is recommended.

(Read more of the guidance below)

In Lincoln County, Superintendent Mike Rowe says face coverings have not been required since the healthy at school mandates were rescinded in June.

At this time, decisions about things like wearing masks are decided at the local district level because Rowe says Kentucky is a local control state and there are no mandates saying otherwise.

School leaders say summer programs without restrictions or mandates have been very positive.

“We’ve had no issues. Our students have not had to follow the healthy at school guidelines since they have been rescinded,” said Julia Duncan, principal at Stanford Elementary.

That’s giving school officials a lot of hope for how they will start in the fall when more students arrive.

School officials in Lincoln County say the virtual option will still be available for parents, but they hope to welcome as many students back in the building as possible. There are certain requirements that have to be met for students to use the virtual option.

Dawne Perkins with Let Them Play Kentucky says some of these decisions should be a parent’s decision.

“If you want to mask, mask. If you don’t, don’t. If you want to vaccine, vaccine. If you don’t, don’t. But give parents the choice,” Perkins said.

Perkins says Let Them Play has already been making calls to state and school leaders to make sure they are heard as districts make the final decision on protocols.

“We have got to get back to normal. I really hope that they look at the big enter picture and listen to the parents,” Perkins said.

Fayette County School Leaders provided this statement:

“Throughout the pandemic, Fayette County Public Schools has followed all recommendations from the Kentucky Department of Public Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and worked closely with our partners at the Health Department to prioritize the health and safety of our employees, students, and families and we will continue to do so. This intentional and cautious approach enabled us to bring students and staff back to campus this spring and will be crucial to safely continuing with in-person learning when school begins again in August.

We are in the process of reviewing the ‘Guidance for K-12 school operations for in-person learning’ document shared today by the Kentucky Department of Public Health as well as the most updated guidelines from the CDC released on July 9.

The Fayette County Public Schools COVID-19 Core Team is still finalizing guidelines for the upcoming school year and they will be shared publicly when complete. The group is next scheduled to meet on Tuesday, July 20.”

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