FRANKFORT, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear gave school districts new guidance for dealing with the coronavirus Monday as classrooms prepare to reopen.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Andy Beshear wants school districts to enact a mask mandate

  • Beshear specifically highlighted the need to have unvaccinated children wear masks during a press conference Monday

  • Cases of COVID-19 have been rising quickly the last three weeks

  • State health officials are worried about the delta variant, which has a much larger viral load than other strains of the virus

He wants districts to require unvaccinated students to wear masks and consider mandating them for everyone.

Beshear said the goal is to keep kids in the classroom.  

“If school districts don’t embrace mitigation efforts, we are not going to be in school every day,” he said. “And it’s not because of anything that I’m doing. It’s because the delta variant is going to stop you from ultimately having your students in like you want to.”

The recommendation from Beshear is not a mandate, though, and school districts will ultimately have the final say.  

“We’re not asking all that much when you look at keeping kids in school and protecting them,” Beshear said. “And we need the buy-in.”

Beshear said he’s ready for pushback and he’s hopeful school districts are also ready and willing to take steps meant to keep kids safe.  

“Our educators, I mean they really care about their kids. And this, every recommendation we’ve given, is about the kids,” Beshear said. “And yes, that may mean that you gotta go through some tough school board meetings, but if it’s the right things to do, that’s what you signed up for.”

Even though these recommendations aren’t mandates, Beshear said he’s not taking anything off the table. It all depends on how case numbers grow and how districts respond to outbreaks if and when they happen.