Wayne County Schools have been following the Kentucky Department of Education state mandates to lessen the spread of COVID, like other districts across the Commonwealth. However, the Kentucky General Assembly passed a new bill addressing schools and COVID that takes effect towards the end of this school week.
The bill ends the mask mandate established by the Kentucky State Board of Education. That bill takes effect five working days from the effective date of passage of the bill which will be Wednesday, September 15 or Thursday, September 16, depending on when the attorney general determines the effective date. Therefore, the mask mandate remains in place inside the school buildings through Thursday, September 16th, at this point.
This topic, along with the rest of the COVID management issues will be determined by the Wayne County Board of Education which will meet at 6:00 p.m. on September the 16th. During the interim period of time, the school administration are receiving input and developing a customized plan with different options that best meet the needs of the Wayne County students, while following all the mandates in place. The new legislation presents the local districts with the decision making process and authority to act on not just the masking issue, but many other COVID related issues.
The local school district has most recently been facing their highest figures related to COVID, which is admittedly stressing the system, with staffing being at the top of the list of the immediate management problems. The teachers, school nurses and administrators have diligently been dealing with contact tracing, quarantines, social distancing, sanitizing and masking to help keep the variant from spreading across the school district while trying to maintain in-person learning.
Among the points in the new legislation, the law calls for no additional NTI days beyond the statutory ten days, temporary remote instruction for a targeted school, grade level, classroom depending on the level of COVID disruption in the school board’s plan, and a test-to-stay model that will be developed by the KY Department of Health to minimize the quarantining of non-symptomatic students and staff.
So, there are many details that will be decided upon and submitted to the Kentucky Department of Education called the COVID-19 school operations plan, which will be made publicly available.