Breaking News
More () »

'Keep them safe': JCPS families protest state bills that could change mask, quarantine policies in schools

On Wednesday evening, a handful of JCPS parents protested, saying lawmakers are missing the mark.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky lawmakers are moving forward with bills that could change the way schools handle COVID-19, but not everyone is in favor.

In Frankfort on Wednesday, state education committees approved two nearly identical pieces of legislation that have some JCPS parents protesting.

After hours of discussion on day 2 of a special session, Kentucky lawmakers approved revised versions of state Senate and House Bills 1.

Nearly identical, both are pushing for three main changes: An end to the statewide mask mandate in public schools -- with potential to reach districts, adding 20 remote learning days that could be used on a school by school basis, and "test-to-stay": a concept that would let students avoid quarantines, even if exposed, by providing daily negative tests.

"We got tired of seeing all this stuff, and we decided to do something about it," JCPS parent Rose Reams said.

On Wednesday evening, a handful of JCPS parents protested, saying lawmakers are missing the mark.

"The kids can only be virtual for so many hours, like why?" local activist Stachelle Bussey said.

In their minds, these proposals won't fix COVID issues in a school district this size, saying JCPS needs the power to make changes fluidly -- hybrid learning included.

"No one has ever asked for unlimited NTI. All we have asked for is enough to keep our kids safe while COVID is surging like it is right now," said 'Dear JCPS' founder Gay Adelmann.

The Jefferson and Fayette County superintendents already sent a letter to Governor Beshear and lawmakers last week, asking for more flexibility.

These families don't believe that's happening. 

"Making all these one-size-fits-all solutions that tie the hands of large districts like Jefferson County," Adelmann said.

These parents' next step is another trip to protest in Frankfort on Thursday morning for day 3 of the special session. 

Both SB 1 and HB 1 have a ways to go before being passed and sent to the Governor's desk. Both now head to the state Senate and House floors, where roadblocks are expected.

Several floor amendments have already been filed for both bills. One amendment for SB 1 would actually prohibit school districts from requiring masks. Those changes will be discussed by the full House and Senate.

►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users. 

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed

Before You Leave, Check This Out