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First day of voluntary masks in schools produces mixed results for JCPS

For first graders at Zachary Taylor Elementary, all they have ever known is wearing a mask in school.
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 4:36 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It appears that a lot of families were ready for JCPS to drop the mandatory mask rule.

In some schools, the first day of voluntary masking revealed a majority of students were maskless.

The challenge for staff was to make sure students who arrived wearing a mask kept their masks on.

“Quite a few students are still wearing their masks,” Zachary Taylor Elementary Principal Dwayne Roberts said. “There are still some families making that choice and we have to honor that. So we’re just right now trying to figure out who wants to wear a mask, who doesn’t and how we can support that.”

For first graders at Zachary Taylor Elementary, all they have ever known is wearing a mask in school. In spite of praiseworthy compliance, some students admitted never really liked wearing them.

First-grader Chloe Bridges got her mother’s permission to leave her mask at home.

“”I said ‘Yay, I can’t wait for school tomorrow,’” she said in celebration.

Jhene Devo-Wilson, another Zachary Taylor first-grader, wore a mask to school Thursday, but planned to have a talk with her mother.

“I don’t like masks,” she said. “I can’t breathe the way I want to.”

The timing to drop mandatory masks, which was announced by JCPS on Wednesday, follows a precipitous drop in cases in Kentucky’s largest school district. 166 students and 38 among teachers and staff were counted as positive for COVID on Thursday.

There is now a wait and see attitude in schools. Some wonder if fewer masks will lead to more COVID cases.

Principal Dwayne Roberts wore a mask on Thursday for several reasons.

“I’ve made it three years without catching COVID and I’ll probably catch it tomorrow now,” Roberts said. “But I figured I’d ride it out to the very end. And plus, we have quite a few students who have chosen to wear their masks. And we don’t want them to feel like somethings wrong with it. So the principal wearing their mask sends a good message and I may come in tomorrow and not wear it.”

WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram...
WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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