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Back to School: Fayette County students return to the classroom with masks on

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Posted at 1:43 PM, Aug 11, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Class is back in session this week for dozens of Kentucky counties. In Fayette County, students and teachers returned to the classroom Wednesday morning.

At Brenda Cowan Elementary School in Lexington, 2021 is set to be their first full year inside the building, after it opened in 2019. For Principal Josh Williams, it’s an exciting day despite the challenges.

“It's just wonderful,” he told LEX 18. “There's a lot of energy in the building. We've been waiting on this, and we're hopeful and thankful that we can have it go for the entire year.”

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This year, much of the focus is on masks. That’s because face coverings are required inside all Fayette County Public School classrooms and on buses, no matter someone’s vaccination status. Tuesday, Governor Andy Beshear announced he also plans to sign an executive order making masks mandatory in schools across the Commonwealth.

Principal Williams said their focus at Brenda Cowan is safety, no matter how the school year plays out. According to Williams, the school is following all CDC guidelines to make sure students can continue to see their peers and teachers in person.

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“We do understand the concerns, and we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure this learning is engaging for all, and safe for all,” he said. According to Williams, teachers are also eager to take advantage of new educational opportunities, like piano and dance labs that were unavailable during online learning.

This year, partitions are not required inside classrooms, but students will remain in groups to reduce potential exposure. You can read the district’s full guidelines for the school year here.