With COVID-19 cases continuing to increase across the Commonwealth, Gov. Andy Beshear announced guidance for K-12 students returning to school at his Monday press conference.
Under the new guidance:
- School districts should require all unvaccinated students and unvaccinated adults to wear a mask in classrooms and other indoor school settings
- School districts should require all students under 12 years of age to wear a mask when in classrooms and other indoors settings
- School districts wishing to optimize safety and minimize risk of educational and athletic disruption should require all students and all adults to wear a mask while in the classroom and other indoor school settings.
The guidance is not a mandate but is strongly recommended by the Beshear Administration. When asked if the recommendations will eventually be mandated, Beshear said he expects the school districts will follow suit.
“In the beginning when we had to take steps with schools, a mandate wasn’t necessary,” Beshear said. “We believe these recommendations are so clear and that the science is so clear, and the priority…I mean, are we going to have school districts that are going to say they have a different priority other than as many in-person learning days? Our expectation will be that the districts jump on board. And again, there’s only one right answer that protects the kids.”
Beshear announced that weekly new cases were on the rise for a fourth straight week, with the positivity rate also climbing to nearly eight percent among Kentuckians.
Beshear again told the audience that the only way to reverse these increasing trends in positivity rate and new cases was for more Kentuckians to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The solution remains the same: get vaccinated,” Beshear said.
Approximately 62 percent of Kentuckians aged 18 and older had received the vaccine as of Monday, according to Beshear.