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Beshear: Ky. school districts should keep mask policies in place for now

Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 10:32 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Despite a drop in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Beshear said Kentucky school districts should still keep their mask policies in place for now.

He said this would cause a spike in cases, because so many students are still not able to get vaccinated. Teachers hope the policies stay in place a while longer, while some parents said it’s time to lift the requirement.

They’re some of the lowest numbers we’ve seen in months, but Governor Beshear isn’t ready to give the all clear yet, and encourages school districts keep their universal masking policies.

“The first thing that would pop these numbers back up is if we came off universal masking in schools,” Gov. Beshear said.

During his first COVID briefing in two weeks, Governor Beshear said masking in schools should still be enforced because so many students are not eligible for the COVID vaccine. He also cited deaths among school faculty and staff.

“We’ve lost 50 of them. I don’t want to lose a 51st or a 52nd,” Beshear said.

“For quite a while it was every night I wondered, who would tomorrow’s name be. And that’s been very difficult,” Rowan County teacher Allison Slone said.

Slone said there have been a few issues from students wearing masks in school, but no major distractions. However, there are many parents calling for districts to lift the requirements, saying they are causing issues.

“It’s also affecting children’s growth and development in terms of language communications, and some of those things are going to be long term situations,” said Dawne Perkins of Let Them Play Kentucky.

Perkins said the masks cause mental and educational delays and she hopes districts will listen to the communities when deciding to lift the mandates.

“This is not going to get fixed by a one-man band. It has to be a community effort,” Perkins said.

“We’re really fearful that letting those mask mandates drop will cause numbers to go back up, and then we’re starting all over from scratch,” Slone said.

Gov. Beshear said districts should wait until their county is at least in the yellow on the incidence rate map before lifting their mask policies.

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