Oldham County Schools parents start petition to reinstate district mask mandate

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 4:58 PM EST
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LAGRANGE, Ky. (WAVE) - As children prepare to return to class after the Christmas break, some Oldham County parents are worried the district isn’t doing enough to protect their children from COVID-19 and the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Oldham County Schools lifted its mask mandate for students and staff in early November; the district recommends masks, but both groups can choose whether to wear one. The policy will still be in place when students return to school Tuesday.

The superintendent can enforce a two-week mask mandate at specific schools to prevent outbreaks, according to the district, after considering several factors:

  • The number of positive cases
  • Family connections to COVID-19
  • School level exposure to positive cases
  • Large events
  • Suspected school transmission
  • Monitoring vaccination rates

However, the school board did not set specific benchmark numbers for each factor that would trigger a two-week mask mandate.

Amy Tyler, who has two children enrolled in Oldham County Schools said she’s not only concerned about her children’s health, but the health of the teachers, bus drivers, and other school staff.

“Why aren’t we doing everything possible to prevent kids and teachers, specifically teachers from getting sick?” Tyler said. “In a pandemic, it seems like masks would be appropriate right now.”

Oldham County’s current seven-day average of new daily cases is 45, which is almost triple the number it was when the school board lifted the mask mandate in November.

The rise is case numbers is one of the reasons some Oldham County parents started a petition asking the board to reinstate masks in all schools until the surge in cases is over.

“The petition is just to let the district know that there are parents who are very concerned and want all children to be wearing masks, at least for a little bit,” Tyler said.

However, according to a district-wide survey, 58.8 percent of Oldham County parents voted in favor of making masks optional. 52.9 percent of school staff agreed.

Tyler told WAVE 3 News requiring masks is for the greater good.

“You have the right to choose whether your kid wears a mask, that’s fine, but you don’t have the right to make our kids sick,” Tyler said.

All students and staff are still required to wear a mask on school buses due to a federal law. The district will continue to monitor case numbers upon the students’ return.

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