Christian County Public Schools will continue to require that staff, students and visitors wear masks inside school buildings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the district announced Monday.
“In an effort to limit quarantine absenteeism … this policy will remain in effect for the time being. It will be revisited and reassessed before we return to school from fall break on Oct. 11,” district spokesman John Rittenhouse said in a news release.
On Thursday, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation that bans a statewide mask mandate for schools, which the Kentucky Board of Education had implemented. Republicans in the legislature said they wanted to leave the decision about masks to local school districts. Democrats who opposed the statewide ban predicted many districts would stop requiring masks, making the spread of COVID-19 more serious in the coming weeks.
Rittenhouse said local officials are concerned that the absence of face coverings could increase the number of students who have to quarantine and miss in-person classes.
In the weeks leading up to the start of the school year in early August, the local district initially said masks would be voluntary. But on Aug. 2, officials said masks would be required for teachers and staff members. Then, as COVID-19 cases increased, the school board voted on Aug. 5 at the recommendation of Superintendent Chris Bentzel to require masks for everyone — students, staff and visitors — in all district buildings and on school buses.
Mask requirements have become politically charged issues in schools across the country. But research shows that masks slow the spread of the coronavirus.