FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky lawmakers nixed the statewide school mask mandate late Thursday night. However, kids will still need to mask up as they head to class Friday morning. School districts have five business days to set their mask policies before the Kentucky Department of Education's statewide order officially ends.
What You Need To Know
- Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed part of Senate Bill 1, which would eliminate the statewide mask mandate for Kentucky schools
- Both the House and Senate voted to override Gov. Andy Besehar's veto, meaning there will no longer be a statewide school mask mandate
- Kentucky school districts have five business days to determine their mask policies before the statewide order officially ends
- This comes as nearly 23% of Kentucky school districts have halted in-person learning so far this school year due to positive cases and quarantines
The Republican-led General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1 Thursday, which would eliminate the statewide mask mandate for Kentucky schools. Gov. Andy Besehear vetoed portions of SB1.
The Kentucky House and Senate ultimately overrode Beshear's veto just before midnight Thursday.
Kentucky school districts now have five days to pass their mask policies, but at least one Kentucky school district already announced masking is here to stay. Scott County Schools made that post Thursday before the elimination of the statewide mask mandate was final, saying the district set the mask requirement before the governor or Kentucky Department of Education required it. With that being said, the school district announced masks will continue to be required there, regardless of what was going to happen in the special legislative session.
The elimination of the statewide mask mandate comes as more Kentucky school districts continue to halt in-person learning because of case counts and quarantine volume. The Kentucky School Boards Association reported at least five more districts paused in-person instruction this week, continuing to add to the growing list.
- Caldwell County Schools: No in-person instruction or NTI Thursday or Friday due to a rising number of quarantines
- Barbourville Independent Schools: Students are learning from home this whole week
- McLean County Schools: No in-person instruction or NTI Wednesday through Friday due to the number of positive cases and quarantines among students and staff
- Gallatin County Schools: Used NTI days Tuesday and Wednesday this week due to an increase in positive cases and quarantines
- Dawson Springs Independent: Student are learning from home this whole week due to illness and quarantines
With the addition of those five districts, 39 Kentucky school districts have halted in-person learning so far this school year. That accounts for nearly 23% of Kentucky's 171 school districts.
That's a large volume in comparison to closures nationally. Burbio, a school data aggregate company, has been tracking school closures throughout the United States. So far, 1,400 school districts in the U.S. have closed this school year due to COVID-19. For context, there are 98,000 school district in the country. That means 1.4% of U.S. school districts have closed so far this year. That's substantially less than the 23% of closures in Kentucky so far this school year.
Some of the Kentucky school districts that closed in-person learning this school year used NTI days, while others did not since districts are alloted a limited number of those days. The districts that did not use NTI days will need to make up the days off from school at a later date.
SB1 continues the limit of 10 NTI days to use for district-wide closures. However, it adds 20 "remote learning" days, which are not the same as NTI days. The remote learning days can be used to close particular schools or classes within a district.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story said .01% of U.S. schools are closed. The correct percentage is 1.4%. The error has been corrected.