LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Jefferson County Board of Education voted on Tuesday night not to adopt new Covid-19 guidance for schools proposed by the CDC and state health officials. After an hour of debate, the Board voted 4-3 to maintain their current rules.
The proposed new rules would allow schools with universal masking to reduce the isolation time of those who test positive from 10 days to five. They would also eliminate quarantines and contact tracing for those exposed to the virus at school if they are asymptomatic.
Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said the schools have followed CDC guidance throughout the pandemic and it made sense to continue to do so, but a number of board members objected.
Dr. Chris Kolb represents the 2nd district. He said, “Universal masking is a fiction. To say a school has universal masking and therefore you don't have to do X, Y, Z — to me, that criteria just doesn't apply."
Dr. Pollio acknowledged masking efforts within Jefferson County Public Schools weren't perfect, but pointed out that the positivity rate in school testing is 17% compared to 34% in the overall community. So he suggested masking is working on some levels.
Joe Marshall represents the 4th district. He said he was concerned about taking people's word about whether they had symptoms or not in order to return.
Kolb and Marshall were joined by Diane Porter and Corrie Shill in voting against the changes. James Craig, Linda Duncan and Sarah McIntosh voted for the new guidance.
The Board agreed to revisit the topic at a future meeting if data changes.
Meanwhile the Board did vote unanimously to give Pollio the power to assign remote learning days to specific schools. Recently passed Senate Bill 25 gives Kentucky school districts up to 10 additional days of remote learning, as long as they aren't assigned to an entire district.