LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jefferson County Public Schools will be back to universal masking beginning Monday.
JCPS said Jefferson County is in the red community level of COVID-19 so universal masking is required for everyone who enters a JCPS building or bus.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health’s map says that not only is Jefferson County in the red, but Bullitt, Shelby and Spencer counties are in the red too. As of July 18, the weekly positivity rate is 17.7%.
"Our hospital has not seen zero COVID on any days, we got them down to a low of 15, we're back up into the 30s," said Dr. Chuck Anderson, the vice president and chief medical officer for Baptist Health Louisville.
Anderson said there is uncertainty ahead with essentially half of the commonwealth back in the red and BA.5 now dominating.
"Is this for a month? Is this for two months? Or is this for three months? I think that's anybody's guess right now," Anderson said.
UofL Health officials said across their system, 56 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, and eight of them are in the ICU.
Mahogany Boleyjack spends her extra time as a vendor at Iroquois Park for families and visitors.
However, she also has kids in the JCPS system and said it's been hard for her kids to feel any sense of normalcy.
"My kids were really okay with it, wearing the masks and just taking them off to eat, whatever. That's not the thing. Just being petrified when you get out of school, my kids, how are they going to adapt to that," Boleyjack said.
With classes starting back in just a few weeks, she told WHAS11 JCPS' decision to bring back the masks doesn't bother her.
"I think that it's better to be safe than sorry. With that many kids being in one room together, I think that JCPS is doing the right thing," Boleyjack said.
Anderson says it may be an annoyance for some, but that it does offer protection.
"You know, people hate it. But I think masking is going to be a great protection," Anderson said.
Anderson also noted vaccinations and distancing are still some of the best practices during high community spread.
Masks will be available for anyone who does not have their own according to JCPS.
JCPS also said they will update the community on the masking status at the end of each week and will continue to follow CDC guidance and policies approved by the JCPS Board of Education.
- Promote their on-site testing program for sick or exposed persons
- Give at-home tests to students and staff who choose to do weekly screening testing (when available)
- Provide at-home tests to family members living in the household of COVID-positive students and staff (when available)
- School health services will test students and staff with proper consent
- Notify families and staff of known positive cases
- Provide access to a dashboard with the number of known cases at a school or district office
The school year is set to start Aug. 10.
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