Gov. Beshear: Schools without mask requirements won't stay open

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jul 28, 2021

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — New evidence on the Delta variant pushed the CDC to make some changes when it comes to its masking recommendations. The group is now saying that all students, teachers, and staff members in K-12 schools should wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Given this new guidance, Governor Andy Beshear said Kentucky will look over its own return-to-school recommendations and announce any changes on Thursday.

On Monday, Kentucky advised its school district to:

  • require all unvaccinated students and adults to wear a mask when in classrooms and other indoor school settings
  • require all students under 12 years of age to wear a mask when in classrooms and other indoor school settings
  • optimize safety and minimize the risk of educational and athletic disruption by requiring ALL students and adults to wear a mask indoors

Some school districts have followed the guidance and issued universal masking requirements. However, some have not. On Tuesday, Anderson County Schools told parents that while masks are recommended, they "will not be required on school grounds while participating in most normal activities."

Beshear believes it's a bad decision to not require masks in schools.

"Any school system that isn't going to require masks - at the very least in unvaccinated students - isn't going to stay open," he said.

He explained that COVID-19 outbreaks will lead to quarantines and quarantines will disrupt in-classroom instruction.

"What it ultimately does is reduce the number of in-person days that their students are going to have so that they can please some louder parents or folks that don't even have kids that go to school," said Beshear. "Let's put the kids first. Let's do what it takes to keep them in class."