In our previous communication, we explained that our current COVID-19 Operations plan entailed reviewing our mask mandate at the end of each month. Beginning Monday, November 1, 2021, students and staff will have the option of wearing a mask in our school facilities and at our extra-curricular events. However, the mask requirement will remain in place on our buses due to the large number of students who sit in close proximity with one another for an extended period of time. Moving forward, all four metrics (Local Hospital Capacity, Community Incident Rates, District Incident Rates, and District Quarantine numbers) will continue to be closely monitored and the mask guidelines will be revisited as necessary. Also, it’s important to note that it is still strongly recommended for everyone to continue wearing masks, especially those unvaccinated individuals.
Based upon a review of the four metrics we have monitored since the beginning of Covid in March, 2020, we are optimistic that we can continue to provide in-person instruction five days per week with optional masking and an amendment to our quarantine process. Close contacts at school who are without symptoms (i.e., fever or feeling feverish, new cough, difficulty breathing, sore throat, muscle/body aches, vomiting/diarrhea or new loss of taste or smell) will no longer be required to quarantine. However, the quarantining of close contacts within the community will continue because these cases are under the authority of our local health department.
Some may be wondering why this decision was made prior to the approval of vaccines for children ages 5-11. Based upon the latest available information, it is reasonable to expect that it will take several weeks for all interested parents to have their children completely vaccinated. Under this scenario, our students and staff would need to remain in masks through November and possibly much of December. Again, based upon data from our current metrics, we are optimistic that we can remain open for in-person instruction five days per week with masks being optional.
The next week will be utilized to revise our current Covid-19 Operations Plan which is required to be submitted to the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). However, KDE's approval is not necessary since this is now a local decision. We are confident that our plan can be completed and submitted next week, well prior to the implementation of our new mask and quarantine procedures.
If you have a specific concern or accommodation request, please reach out to your child’s school as we are committed to doing our best to honor all reasonable requests. Thank you for your flexibility and continued support of our students and staff during these difficult times.