Clark County Schools will continue universal masking

Published 10:44 am Friday, September 17, 2021

Clark County Schools will continue its universal masking policy.

The school district made the announcement Thursday evening on its social media pages and in an email communication from Superintendent Molly McComas.

“This may be a relief for some, but we are fully aware that it will be disappointing to others for various reasons,” wrote McComas in the email.  “All of which we understand and we hope you understand the gravity of these decisions that must be made for our district.”

The announcement came one day before the Sept. 17 deadline set by recent legislation passed by the Kentucky General Assembly for districts to update their COVID-19 action plan. The legislation notably returned decisions on masking policy back to local control.

The superintendent explained in a phone conversation with the Sun that the revised guidelines were developed by staff at central office, the distict’s health coordinator, school building leaders and the Clark County Health Department. Students with an exemption from a healthcare provider will not be required to wear a mask. Visitors to any district building are still required to wear a mask.

McComas explained in the email that masks are necessary for the district to continue in person learning.

“We need our teams (teachers, food service, nurses, transportation, etc) to be able to work so that we can safely operate.  That isn’t going to happen if masks are not a requirement,” she wrote.

The district will also strengthen its plan in three different ways: more cross-training and collaboration with the Clark County Health Department including assisting with contact tracing, mask breaks in large open or structured settings and developing a “Test to Stay” program.

“Test to Stay” [is a] program that will allow a staff member or a student to return to school if placed in quarantine.  A student or staff member will need to test and receive a negative result daily, during the quarantine period, to attend work or school,” McComas wrote in the email, and added that the rapid result tests will be administered at an off-site location.

McComas also told the Sun that the COVID-19 numbers in Clark County “will have to show a steady decrease” for masks to become optional but that the district will continue to monitor the number and consult with the health department.