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'Don't require these kids to wear masks': New FCPS leader hears from families in first board meeting

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 23:53:14-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Dr. Demetrus Liggins has wrapped up a busy first day as the new superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools. The last thing on his agenda was his first school board meeting.

It was also the first in-person meeting with public comment since February 2020.

In his first board meeting, Dr. Liggins heard from families he's tasked with serving, and they made clear what his first task should be.

"Make it optional, but don't require these kids to wear masks," said one speaker.

The school year in Lexington starts in a few weeks, but the district still hasn't finalized its COVID-19 rules for the fall. Dr. Liggins said he's having active discussions with health officials.

"I'm going to meet with the core team [on Tuesday] and make absolutely sure that we listen and ultimately decide what's best for having school," said Dr. Liggins.

He says his #1 priority is making sure kids remain in person this year, but some parents say that's not good enough.

"I'm asking you to remove all barriers to education for this school year: no mask, no partitions, no limits on physical interactions, no limits on the use of physical learning tools," said one speaker. "The vaccine is readily available, it's easy to get, it's effortless to get and my child should not have educational barriers because an adult chooses to not get vaccinated."

Only three of the 17 speakers supported the idea of mask-wearing this year.

"In light of today's recommendations from the governor, Dr. Glass, and other health officials, it is vitally important that we follow the science and guidance from our health officials, ensuring that students can have a successful school year."

Dr. Liggins says a guidance document will be released soon, and whatever it turns out to be will most likely set the tone for the next board meeting.