FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Gov. Andy Beshear updated return-to-school guidance Thursday to suggest that school districts in Kentucky should require universal indoor masking. That means all K-12 teachers, staff, students, and visitors should wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.
Before, Kentucky was advising its school districts to at least make the unvaccinated wear masks. Now, everyone is included.
The new guidance is based on new federal guidelines. This week, the CDC recommended, "universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status."
However, some Kentucky school districts are moving ahead with no mask requirement. Beshear believes that's the wrong decision. He wants them to take the CDC's guidance seriously.
"To the schools, you teach science in your classroom. You should have to consider it when making decisions," said Beshear.
Beshear said the goal this upcoming school year should be to keep students in the classroom. He says with the aggressive Delta variant circulating, schools without mask requirements will quickly run into problems.
"Number 1: you're going to have a lot of kids in quarantine," said Beshear. "Number 2: you're going to forfeit a lot of your sports, your games, your matches. Number 3: the more people get COVID, even young, the more likelihood there is that one of them gets hurt, has a bad outcome."
"I can't imagine what type of liability a school system will face if the CDC told them something clearly, the state told them something clearly, and in the midst of a pandemic with the most aggressive variant yet - knowing that most of their student body was not vaccinated - did not make the right decision," said Beshear.
When asked about daycares, Beshear said they should also "be looking at masking."
"We haven't come out with formal recommendations for that but given the variant and how it is growing - and most of the people [in daycares] can't be vaccinated and even those who are vaccinated could be spreading it to those that would catch it the fastest - they really ought to be thinking about that."