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Burgin Independent, Mercer County school districts end universal masking

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 5:29 PM EDT
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MERCER CO., Ky. (WKYT) - With Senate Bill 1 passed, local school districts can now decide their own rules for face masks.

Still, only six Kentucky districts are not requiring them.

In Mercer County, students at Burgin Independent Schools and Mercer County Schools no longer need face coverings.

“I just hope that the population understands that there’s no rights answers to some things,” said school board chairman Bob Clark.

Clark explains masks are encouraged. He says they’re required at all times, besides when at workstations and eating.

For some, this isn’t ideal.

In a statement at Wednesday’s meeting, Superintendent Will Begley recommended continuing with universal masking.

“My job is to protect the students and staff at Burgin Independent Schools. We have students with special needs and older staff, and both are in the high-risk category,” Begley said.

This statement also mentioned 91% of staff do not feel comfortable working around students without masks.

One of these teachers is Jennifer Barlow.

“We stood up in the board meeting and we headed that direction and unfortunately we were outvoted,” Barlow said. “Some of the people that were presenting don’t really know how the classroom works. I think they felt like we stand in front of a room and lecture, and we don’t, our classrooms and live and they’re active and they’re constantly moving, and so for our kids to be masked allows us to keep going with those activities.”

Things could change, according to Clark. He says the district will take action based on case numbers.

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