JCPS superintendent defends mask recommendation ahead of school board meeting

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 12:51 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 6:26 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Jefferson County Board of Education is set to meet Tuesday to discuss a recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the state, and new guidance is provided by local health entities, JCPS’s top official recommended a masks requirement for students and teachers.

On Tuesday, Pollio reiterated that although he has a doctorate, he’s no medical doctor. That’s why he’s relying on those who are.

“My recommendations to our board will always be based on the guidance from the health departments that are experts in the field,” Pollio said.

In order to follow guidance from the state of Kentucky and the CDC, Pollio has recommended a universal mask requirement across the district that would require masks to be worn inside JCPS buildings at all time, regardless of age or vaccination status.

While the recommendation comes from Pollio, it’s ultimately up to the school board. Still, Pollio said it’s his job to find ways to return to school safely.

“It would be much easier for me not to make a recommendation and to just let the board decide,” said Pollio, “but I think it’s the job of the superintendent, the leader of a district, to make a recommendation to the board of education about a way to move forward.”

Whatever decision is made by the district, it doesn’t mean it’s locked in for the entire school year. Pollio said it could change based on new guidance from the CDC or the Kentucky Department for Public Health.

The board could also discuss the possibility of more virtual options for kids who choose to do so. The Pathfinder School is already available to students 6th-12th grade, but there’s not anything currently available for students younger than that.

After a closed executive session starting at 4:30 p.m., the regular school board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Tonight’s meeting will be held in the auditorium at Central High School, located at 1130 W. Chestnut.

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