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FCPS will require face masks for students, staff

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 9:20 AM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Fayette County Public Schools will require face masks for students and faculty when classes start back up next week.

The decision was announced Tuesday morning in an email sent to families.

“We will require all employees, students, contractors and visitors, regardless of immunization status, to wear a mask on school buses and inside FCPS facilities,” Superintendent Dr. Demetrus Liggins said.

Face masks will also be required on school buses.

Liggins says schools will continue to emphasize the importance of physical distancing, hand washing, cleaning, and sanitizing. He says the district will notify parents of possible COVID-19 exposures on campus. Quarantine protocols will be in place. However, fully vaccinated teachers and students and those who had covid 19 within the past 90 days will not have to quarantine.

The community is reacting to the district’s decision with many supporting the mask requirement. The parent group ‘We Support Fayette Co Schools’ released this statement:

“We are looking forward to a new school year and are appreciative that the leadership of Fayette County Public Schools is prioritizing the health and safety of students, staff, and our community. Although the pandemic is not over, we have made great strides with vaccinations. Masks continue to mitigate the spread of the virus, so we understand the need for them at this time, especially since it means we will be attending school in person, which is what is best for kids.”

However, parents part of a group called ‘Let Them Learn in Fayette County’ feel differently.

“I’m disappointed for my own kindergartener because he’s not going to be able to see his teacher pronounce those words he’s needing to learn,” said parent Matthew Vied with Let Them Learn in Fayette County. “I think we’ve all experienced the difficulty of understanding people speaking through masks.”

Parents may be divided about wearing masks, but nearly all seem to agree that in-person leading is what’s best for their kids.

“I think that’s good for the the kids. That’s good for everything and everybody. Yes, I’m glad their going back,” said parent Veronica Futrell.

FCPS Board Chair Tyler Murphy released this statement about the decision:

After such a challenging and difficult year, we can all agree that ensuring our students start the school year in-person and remain in-person must be a shared priority.

As we learn more about the Delta variant and the role it’s playing in increased transmission of COVID in our community, our COVID Core Team has been working diligently to develop guidelines for the upcoming year guided by the health, safety, and wellbeing of our students, staff, and their families while prioritizing in-person instruction and resumption of normal activities.

Today’s announcement from Superintendent Liggins on the CCT decision--with protocols including universal masking, physical distancing, health screenings, and other health and safety guidelines to start the school year--was not taken lightly by this team—which consists of district leaders and our public health partners. For the past several months, they’ve followed the science and advice of public health professionals and have provided consistent and regular communication to our community and Board team. We respect their work and are grateful for their dedication to our students, families, and staff.

As we’ve seen before, our actions can and will make a difference. I urge you, if eligible, to get vaccinated if you haven’t already and to continue to make decisions that not only keep you safe but keep our entire community safe.

A core value of Fayette County Public Schools is “Students First.” That requires us to do what we can as a district and a community to keep them safe and to keep our schools open for in-person instruction.

Classes start for FCPS students on Wednesday, August 11.

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