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Kentucky, Indiana schools release mask guidelines for upcoming school year

The 2021-22 school year is quickly approaching. Here's where some local districts stand on requiring masks at school.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The 2021-22 school year is about to begin for schools in Kentucky and Indiana. As families buy school supplies and cross things off their back-to-school checklists, one question is likely to come up: Will my student need to wear a mask to school?

On July 9, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said students and staff members who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear masks in school. However, the American Academy for Pediatrics disagreed, saying everyone over the age of two should continue to wear masks, especially since many students are still not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

RELATED: All students should wear masks in school this fall, top pediatrics group says

The Kentucky Department of Health released updated guidance in July, recommending masks for people who have not been vaccinated and requiring masks on public transportation, like school buses.

On Aug. 10, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order issuing a mask mandate for all Kentucky schools, including pre-K and childcare centers. The mandate will be reviewed after 30 days.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has not made any statewide decision on masking in schools.

The guidelines that have been released publicly will be listed below for schools in and around the Louisville metro area. Guidelines may change before school starts, or even when school is in session, based on case numbers or other changes during the pandemic.

If you have any questions about your school's mask policy, you should contact the school directly.

Kentucky Schools

Mask requirements issued by Kentucky school districts prior to this decision - as well as responses to Beshear's mandate - are listed below.

Jefferson County Public Schools (decision from July 27 board meeting)

Masks [will be] required for all vaccinated and unvaccinated students, staff and visitors while inside JCPS property. Masks are required on school buses. Students and staff are not required to wear masks outdoors.

Physical distancing of at least 3 feet is recommended between students to the greatest extent practicable. Physical distancing of at least 6 feet between adults and students to the greatest extent practicable.

Bullitt County Public Schools (in a letter sent to parents on Aug. 9)

As of Tuesday, August 10, 2021, all individuals entering a BCPS building will be required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

Hardin County Schools (Facebook post from Aug. 10)

Per Executive Order of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, all students and staff are required to wear a mask to school.  This overrides what we shared earlier in the day.

Masks are also required on the bus.

Henry County Schools (Facebook post from Aug. 10)

While Henry County Public Schools had hoped to respect family choice in regard to their students wearing masks at school, we must now comply with the executive order issued by Governor Andy Beshear today, August 10, mandating universal masking regardless of vaccination status, in Kentucky schools. Effective immediately, all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear a mask in all HCPS buildings and on our buses for the duration of the mandate, which is currently 30 days.

We apologize for the late notice and know that many students and staff may be unprepared to comply with this new regulation tomorrow, so masks will be provided if needed. All students will be warmly welcomed into our schools tomorrow for the first day of school, and we are committed to making this a great school year!

Meade County Schools (Facebook post from Aug. 10)

Per executive order given this afternoon by Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Meade County Schools will implement mandatory mask requirements for students, staff and visitors.

Masks will be provided if needed.

Oldham County Schools (announced Aug. 9)

Due to rising COVID-19 cases within Oldham County and upon recommendation from the Oldham County Board of Health, our Board voted to begin the year with a mask requirement for all students and staff while inside school buildings and on school buses.

This is not the way we wanted to begin the school year, but we have always said we would revise our plan if necessary, and our Board of Health, through the Oldham County Health Department, advises us to adjust our plan.

We continue to collaborate with our local health officials, and together we are hopeful this mask requirement is temporary and that we can go back to our original plan of mask recommendation as soon as data shows the county moving in the right direction. This mask requirement will be reviewed every three weeks.

Shelby County Public Schools (Facebook post from Aug. 10)

As of today at 4:00 pm, Governor Andy Beshear signed an Executive Order mandating all teachers, staff, students (2 years old and up), and visitors to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering while indoors in all schools, as well as child care centers. 

We are excited to see our students in class tomorrow. Since this is a late hour to receive this information, please know that we will have masks available for students at school. 

Again, Shelby County Public Schools will continue the sanitization of all surfaces in schools and on buses, the misting of rooms, social distancing of three feet (CDC guidelines), and encourage frequent hand washing. Moreover, the SCPS Board of Education will continue to monitor and discuss the number of cases and ways to mitigate the spread of the virus. 

Spencer County Public Schools (Update from Aug. 10)

As a result of Governor Beshear’s executive order, Spencer County School District will now require masks for all students, staff, and visitors in buildings and buses regardless of vaccination status. This will go into effect beginning August 11th.  Masks will be available at the schools for those who do not have one.  

Additional information will be forthcoming once the details of the order are communicated.

Archdiocese of Louisville Elementary Catholic Schools (message from the superintendent Aug. 6)

Masks will be required for all persons while indoors in all classroom and non-classroom settings unless otherwise exempted (e.g., cannot wear a mask due to disability) regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

Indiana Schools

Greater Clark County Schools (Updated Aug. 7)

Greater Clark County Schools will be following a color-coded system for the school year, with different colors representing different protocols to stop the spread of COVID-19.

As of Aug. 9, the district is in the Orange zone, which means the district will begin requiring face coverings for staff and students.

The full code breakdown can be seen here. The protocol will be revisited weekly as Indiana releases new COVID-19 data.

New Albany/Floyd County Schools (Updated Aug. 11)

As of Aug. 11, NAFCS is requiring masks for everyone, regardless of vaccination status.

Similar to Greater Clark, the district is following a color-coded system that coordinates with the current spread of COVID-19. In an update on Aug. 11, the district was coded Orange.

Click here to see the latest update from NAFCS. The protocol will be revisited weekly as Indiana releases new COVID-19 data.

Clarksville Community Schools

Clarksville Community Schools will require that all students, staff, and visitors wear masks indoors during the school day if they are unable to maintain 6 feet of social distance.

Scott County School District 1 (Post from Aug. 8)

The CDC and Scott County Health Department are recommending the use of masks during the school day, but not requiring them.

SCSD1 will continue to follow our opening plan of requiring masks on all school buses with the use of masks still being optional during in-school activities.

We will continue to monitor the health situation in our school district and community and adjust policies for the health and safety of our students and staff as necessary.

Scott County School District 2 (2021-22 Reopening Plan)

Scott 2 will not require students to wear face coverings or masks during the 2021-2022 school year on school campuses and in school buildings. Students, in consultation between their parents, Scott 2 Building Administration, and Scott 2 Building Nurse, will be allowed to wear a school-appropriate mask/face covering should the family desire for their student(s) to be masked. 

Face coverings are recommended for any student or staff member who is unvaccinated and/or considered to be in a higher risk category.

Note: Exception is as follows:

  • Should a student exhibit a cough while at school, the Scott 2 Nurse reserves the right to use their professional and clinical expertise to require the student to wear a mask while at school or on school grounds.
  • Should the student’s symptoms be severe enough, every effort will be made to send the student home from school (similar to school nurse protocols in previous pre-COVID years)

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