Ky. Board of Education votes to implement its own mask mandate

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 11:58 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to appove an emergency regulation requiring masks be worn in Kentucky public schools.

The vote came during an emergency meeting that was called to discuss the proposal.

The meeting came just two days after Governor Andy Beshear issued an emergency order requiring masks in schools. The governor cited rising cases in children, and pointed to some districts that started the year without masks, now with hundreds of students in quarantine.

The governor’s order last for 30 days.

It faces legal challenges from pending lawsuits in the Kentucky Supreme Court. The emergency regulation the state school board passed, might not be subject to the same legal challenges. It will stay in place for up to 270 days, that’s nine months.

Exemptions include students younger than two and students with certain disabilities. People in schools can take off their masks when they’re eating or drinking, giving a speech from a distance, excercising or swimming.

Prior to Thursday’s meeting, the Local Superintendent Advisory Council met. The LSAC is made up of 11 school superintendents from across the state. The group does not have the final say, but it did send a recommendation to the state school board.

Its members did not support the emergency regulation to mandate masks. The group, instead, wanted the board to table the vote and work with the Department of Public Health to determine local metrics to set standards for masks.

If the CDC and the Department of Health lift their guidelines recommending masks in school, the Kentucky Board of Education says they will call another emergency meeeting to lift the mask regulation.

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