JCPS issues new guidance for mask-wearing among unvaccinated students, staff
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Students and staff at Jefferson County Public Schools who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will have to wear masks indoors when on school property.
That guidance was sent to the JCPS community on Sunday after the CDC updated its recommendations on Friday.
In a note provided to parents of JCPS students, the school district said that effective Monday, students and staff inside any JCPS property will be required to wear masks if they are not fully vaccinated. The requirement was put in place after guidance from the CDC and the Kentucky Department of Health.
The district followed state guidance a month ago and lifted mask mandates in the classroom, and now that’s changed. Students and staff outside of JCPS property will not be required to wear masks.
The district also will follow CDC guidance for required mask wearing for everyone on a school bus, regardless of vaccination status. The requirement will stay in place during summer programs.
Brianna Underwood-Garcia is 11 years old, and attending JCPS’ summer learning program at Middletown Elementary School. She came to school Monday wearing a mask. Underwood-Garcia said she wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and understands what it means to keep others in mind. She said she has no problem wearing a mask to school.
“I think it’s kind of good,” she said. “During coronavirus, wearing a mask, you have to keep everyone safe. You don’t want to get everyone sick.”
Stanley McDowell Jr. is a teacher and is vaccinated. He said he feels safer knowing those who are not vaccinated around him will be wearing masks.
”I think it’s great and it’s the only way we are going to get out of this,” McDowell Jr. said.
Right now the vaccine is only available to those ages 12 and older.
JCPS parent Thomas Glass said he supports the district on the updated mask requirements.
”Even my daughter told my wife last night that she was very willing and hopeful and would happily wear the mask,” he said. “Because she wants to go back to school. It’s a good idea to err on the side of caution.”
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said the mask update is in place across the district for the next few weeks.
”We have to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control as being the experts in our country on what is the best way to move forward to ensure safety for students and staff,” he said.
JCPS said its goal is to be in school, in person, five days a week, and the district will follow state and national medical experts. The Jefferson County Board of Education will vote at its July 27 board meeting and make a determination about safety requirements, including masks for unvaccinated students and staff for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
So far, the district has spent $7.5 million on personal protective equipment.
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