Beshear: 'Too soon' for schools to go mask-optional

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Posted at 10:07 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 23:13:16-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Although he struck an optimistic tone about the direction of the pandemic Monday, Governor Andy Beshear said he believes it is "too soon" for school districts to drop their mask requirements.

"I know they're under a lot of pressure and we are headed in the right direction," Governor Beshear said. "But you know, when it's just stopping to rain, it's still raining outside."

During his weekly COVID-19 briefing Monday afternoon, the governor noted that cases continue to fall, and other important metrics, like hospitalizations, ICU numbers, and ventilator usage, are also declining.

"We're heading in the right direction," Beshear said. "It looks like we may be able to have a really good spring and summer. We certainly hope it holds for longer than that."

Still, the governor urged patience over the next couple of weeks.

"I pray that [the virus] is going toward endemic," Beshear said. "But we gotta be strong enough if it's not."

Despite the governor's request that schools require students to wear masks, many districts have decided--or signaled they could decide--to make masks optional.

Boyle County Public Schools, Jessamine Public Schools, Clark County Public Schools, Scott County Public Schools, and other districts have all moved to end their mask requirements this month.

"It's really just time to stand up for kids and get them on the path of normalcy and on a path of recovery from the last two years of the pandemic," Dawne Perkins, the founder of Kentucky Kids Matter, said.

Perkins supports House Bill 51, which recently passed the House Education Committee. The bill would prohibit school districts in Kentucky from mandating that masks be worn in schools.

The governor suggested Monday that if cases continue to decline in Kentucky, he would issue new guidance on March 14.