All Fayette schools to mask up for the next 4 weeks

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A group of children students wearing medical masks in the classroom. Stock photo.

When all schools test below 1% infections of total system population for 2 weeks, system will reevaluate — 

It’s official: Masks are mandatory at all Fayette schools through the middle of September. The rule applies to all students, teachers, staff members and visitors.

“Starting tomorrow, we are under a systemwide face covering mandate,” according to the Fayette County School System in an email sent to parents and media Monday at 5:30 p.m. Here’s that email:

August 23, 2021

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Effective tomorrow, Tuesday, August 24, Fayette County Public Schools is placing all schools and office buildings on a mandatory face covering mandate through September 17, 2021. This decision has been made by our Covid-19 Task Force due to the rising number of positive cases in our schools and community.

Currently, we have 16 of our 24 schools on a face covering mandate. Schools are placed on a face covering mandate when one percent of their combined student and staff population tests positive for Covid-19. Cases are continuing to rise. Our increasing numbers point to all of our schools being on a face covering mandate by the end of this week. The school system as a whole is already at the one percent threshold.

This rising number commands that we take action to help mitigate the spread of the virus so that our students and their teachers can remain in school. Layering tactics such as face coverings, hand washing, and distancing when possible is a proven strategy to help slow virus spread.

ENDING FACE COVERING MANDATE

The Covid-19 Task Force will continue to monitor the number of positive Covid-19 cases in our schools over the coming weeks. Once the school system as a whole (all schools combined) drop below a one percent positive rate for two consecutive weeks, the face covering protocol will be reevaluated.

You will receive a communication from the school system regarding the status of the current mandate the week of September 13, 2021.

MODIFIED QUARANTINE PROCEDURE 

The number of positive Covid-19 cases in our schools has greatly impacted the number of students in quarantine. We know that students learn best when they are in the classroom with their teachers. However, each week we have an increasing number of students who are at home in quarantine, connecting virtually to their classes. Out of the nearly 2,400 quarantined students, approximately two percent have tested positive during their quarantine.

With the mandatory face covering mandate in place for everyone, we can now modify how we quarantine students.

Starting Tuesday, August 31, students deemed a close contact due to an exposure at school will be allowed to continue to attend school in-person as long as they are not having symptoms of Covid-19. Parents who are uncomfortable with their child attending school can opt to have their child quarantine at home, and synchronously connect with their class as in the past. This applies only to those students deemed a close contact due to exposure at school.

A VALUED PARTNERSHIP

We recognize that this mandate is not the ideal situation, and that there are some who may be dissatisfied with this decision. Our goal from the beginning has been to keep students in school with their teachers. Not only is this the best option for their academic success, but it is also critical to the overall health of our community.

When students are in our buildings, they are not congregating and socializing in the community, which puts public health at risk. Our ability as a community to pull together and take this safety measure improves our chances of keeping our schools open and everyone healthy.

Thank you for your support.

Fayette County Public Schools