CRESTWOOD, Ky. — Desks were left empty across Oldham County Schools on Friday. Not due to COVID-19, but because students skipped school to protest wearing a mask. 

What You Need To Know

  • Oldham County School parents and students participated in a “sick out" on Friday, keeping their children out of school to show their opposition to the OCS mask mandate

  • Organizers of the “sick out” said 150 Oldham County High School students were absent Friday

  • The Kentucky Board of Education on Thursday approved a requirement for universal masking in public schools into 2022

“Having to wear a mask in school and during classes negatively affects our learning because it really bothers our face and you sweat, barely being able to talk out loud without having to pull your mask down and say something,” Hope Boa, freshman at Oldham County High School suggested.

Charles Hall, a junior at Oldham County High School, protests outside the board of education. (Spectrum News 1/Erin Wilson)

Dozens of parents and students lined the streets in front of the Oldham County Board of Education in what they called a “sick out,” keeping their children out of school.

“We don't want to force people to take their masks off, we don't think they should force us to put them on," parent Charles Turner said. "The country is founded on liberty and that's what we want, the liberty to choose what we think is best for ourselves."

Lillian Deen, a freshman at Oldham County High School believes every student should have a choice when it comes to mask-wearing.

“I decided to stay home because I feel like everyone should have the option to wear a mask or not to wear a mask,” Deen said.

Organizers said 150 students were absent on Friday from Oldham County High School. Some high school students who participated said they’d protest wearing a mask again.

“Yep, I’m definitely coming to all of these because I want to get the word out there that Andy Beshear needs to know how the schools are ran and how much different it is," Oldham County senior Dallas Cheatham said. "Like I’ve literally had one year of school that's been without a mask and that's just terrible."

The Kentucky Board of Education on Thursday approved requiring universal masking in public schools into 2022. Their order is separate from Gov. Beshear's order.

The board said it will consider rescinding the mandate if the CDC or Kentucky Department for Public Health guidance on masking in schools changes.