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JCPS: Masks optional for students, staff beginning Thursday

The new guidance is in effect for students and staff in JCPS schools, facilities or school buses.
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 4:12 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Following the Jefferson County Board of Education decision to allow the superintendent to make masks optional for the school district, JCPS will no longer require masks beginning March 10.

The new guidance is in effect for students and staff in JCPS schools, facilities or school buses, according to a letter sent to JCPS families and staff on Wednesday.

“We’re excited about the developments over the past several weeks to get us to this point,” Superintendent Marty Pollio said.

Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio was given the authority to shift the district’s masking policy in Tuesday’s board meeting if Jefferson County remains in a low to medium category in COVID community level cases.

Currently, Jefferson County is in the medium category as labeled by the Kentucky Department of Public Health.

On Wednesday, Pollio would not predict what schools will look like with the new policy.

“I can’t say that exactly,” Pollio said. “I mean, I think will still see a number of kids in masks, maybe staff members. But I think obviously we’ll see a lot that won’t be in masks. I’ll have to get home and talk to my daughter about which one she’s going to do tomorrow.”

To JCPS parents, voluntary masks is a complicated issue met with mixed feelings.

“I think it’s the way to go with numbers trending down,” Megan Resch said. “I think we need to take breaks when we can.”

“If we get some new variant or something comes along, people are going to be really resistant to going back to it,” Chris Ehrick said. “And so I think that’s what concerns me.”

“We actually survived through all this time and then a month ago we caught it,” Sandy Mayes said. “So it’s still out there. It’s maybe not as prevalent and you’re not hearing about it on the news as much. But it’s still out there.”

JCPS told parents that precautions against the spread of COVID were still available.

Read the full statement sent to JCPS parents and staff below:

Dear JCPS Families and Staff,

Last night the Jefferson County Board of Education voted to give Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio the authority to follow guidance from the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for mask wearing in public schools. This guidance states that when the county is considered by the KDPH to have a “low” (green) or “medium” (yellow) community level of COVID-19, school districts do not need to implement indoor universal masking in school settings, district facilities, or on school buses.

Currently, Jefferson County is labeled medium by the Kentucky Department for Public Health. You can see the county-by-county map of the community level at this link. This map is updated weekly.

Following the current guidance, beginning Thursday, March 10, masks will no longer be required to be worn in JCPS schools, facilities or on school buses. Mandatory mask wearing will resume if the community level of COVID-19 in Jefferson County returns to the “high” (red) category.

Masks will be optional and will still be available to anyone who requests one. While the mask mandate is being lifted, we should not let our guard down against COVID-19. JCPS is continuing its testing program for students and staff in JCPS buildings as well as the community testing centers for students, staff and their families at more than 50 JCPS sites. We have also begun holding vaccination clinics at every school. For the date and time vaccines will be available at your school, click here.

Since the pandemic began, JCPS students, families and staff have shown incredible resolve in following COVID-19 mitigation efforts to help keep students in school. We appreciate your commitment to JCPS.

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