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'Where's the end game?': Advocate wants mask-wearing to be up to parents

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Posted at 5:33 PM, Jul 23, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — With school starting in a few weeks, more people are wondering what school might look like this year.

On Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear said he was meeting with the Department of Education to discuss guidelines.

"This is year three," said Dawne Perkins, who founded the Facebook group, Let them Play in Kentucky. "This is year three of education disruption. I mean, where's the end game?"

Just this week, Perkins started a map that shows the different mask policies for schools in each county across the Commonwealth.

"It's eye-opening for those that are following it, for everybody to see what Kentucky is doing," Perkins said. "I think it's important to stay involved with what our state is doing from an education perspective."

But with school starting in just a few short weeks and still a gray area about what policies will be in place, Perkins' message is simple.

"If you want to wear a mask, wear a mask," she said. "If you don't, you don't."

This is despite cases increasing across the Commonwealth in recent weeks. Perkins isn't suggesting students not wear a mask. She just says this should be up to the parents.

"I really think it comes down to parent choice," she said. "At the end of the day, it's a parent's decision to make the best decision for their child."

One of the takeaways from the CDC about schools is masks should be worn indoors by all people two years and older who are not fully vaccinated. Perkins responds to that, saying it's the parent's job to be responsible for the child.

"And at that point in time, they need a voice at the decision-making table."

As for the next steps, Governor Andy Beshear weighed in too.

"We expect to have some recommendations on Monday when we're going to do a Delta variant update," Beshear said. "All of those are going to be based on the number one goal is to have kids in school, in class, every day that's possible."

LEX 18 reached out to a handful of districts to see what and if they have any policies in place yet.

Franklin County says they will put out a statement next week. Fayette County leaders say they are working on a guidance document detailing health and safety procedures. They will share that with families as part of back-to-school messaging.

The Kentucky Department of Education sent LEX 18 a statement on masking up in the upcoming school year.

The Kentucky Department of Education strongly recommends that school districts follow the recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and guidance by the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) as it relates to the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

Earlier today, Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass and Kentucky Board of Education chair Lu Young met with Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman to discuss the opening of schools in the fall and the Delta variant. They plan to jointly discuss this topic at Monday’s press conference.
The Kentucky Department of Education