JCPS superintendent expected to recommend universal mask requirement

Board of Education to meet Tuesday at Central High School
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 7:54 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 1:09 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After Gov. Beshear revealed new recommendations to safely return to school this upcoming semester, Jefferson County Public Schools announced their recommendation that would be brought to the board Tuesday evening.

In a message sent to JCPS parents and staff Monday evening, the Board of Education is expected to discuss mask wearing and a virtual school option for the 2021-2022 school year during Tuesday’s meeting at Central High School.

Dr. Marty Pollio, JCPS superintendent, is expected to recommend a universal mask requirement for all students, staff, and visitors, regardless of their COVID vaccination status. The requirement would be in effect within JCPS buildings, but would not be required when staff or students are outside JCPS property.

JCPS said the new requirement was aligned with guidance from the governor as well as from the CDC and the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

Citing rising cases of COVID-19, driven by a combination of the Delta variant and the unvaccinated, Governor Andy Beshear called on Kentucky school systems Monday to impose new mask requirements.

“The answer to the entire pandemic is in any drug store, any grocery store, any local health department,” Beshear said about vaccines during his Monday COVID briefing. “And all you got to do is go and get it.”

With 2.2 million Kentuckians still not vaccinated, new spikes in the number of cases, higher positivity rates and more hospitalizations, the governor said it all adds up to new recommendations for kids heading back to school.

Beshear’s recommendations are for any unvaccinated students and all students under 12 to wear a mask indoors.

“We’re not asking all that much when you look at keeping kids in school and protecting them,” Beshear said. “And we need the buy-in of those local school districts.”

JCPS’s requirement will have to pass a vote before going into effect the first day of school on August 11.

In Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Education will also discuss a possible extension of a virtual school option for elementary school students. JCPS’ letter states students in grades 6 through 12 are eligible to enroll in the Pathfinder School of Innovation online school.

Virtual school options for Kindergarten through 5th graders would have to be approved by the Kentucky Department of Education, according to JCPS.

WAVE 3 News will have more details from the Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

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