Fayette County public school students, teachers, and staff will stay under a universal masking mandate for the time being. The school board voted unanimously Monday night to continue to the pandemic precaution.
The decision to keep facial coverings mandatory in public schools came swiftly, with no opposition from the board. Chair Tyler Murphy expressed gratitude to FCPS employees for their efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.
"Thank you for prioritizing the health, safety, and well-being of our students, staff, and families," he said.
The mask requirement applies to all K-12 students, teachers, staff, visitors, and contractors regardless of vaccination status in all district facilities, as well as school buses and district vehicles. Masks are recommended for pre-school children who can remove the coverings on their own. Students can lower their masks while outdoors, or while eating or drinking.
Exemptions must be for medical reasons or otherwise approved by an admissions and release committee.
The rule is consistent with recommendations from the state’s top health official, Dr. Steven Stack, who urged districts Monday to maintain masking amid the Delta variant outbreak.
"Never has it been more important for us to have children wearing masks whenever they are indoors in the school setting, as well as the adults in the building," the state health commissioner said.
The board also voted to allow FCPS Superintendent Demetrus Liggins sole authority to switch schools or classrooms to remote learning due to absences. The vote comes after the General Assembly granted 20 days of the limited at-home learning below the district level.