Diocese of Covington to demand face masks
The Diocese of Covington will now require the nearly 9,600 students at its 37 schools, as well as staff and visitors, to wear masks when classes resume on Tuesday.
“This is based on our experiences last year with COVID-19 cases and the increased case activity in our area,” a letter sent by Superintendent Kendra McGuire to parents on Friday.
The move comes after a lawsuit filed last month in northern Kentucky to quash Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s mask mandate in schools.
A federal judge in Covington banned Beshear from enforcing a mask requirement in late August, saying Beshear’s decree amounted to “tyranny”. The ruling – which was the result of a federal lawsuit filed by a group of Covington parents whose children attend schools in the diocese – affected only private schools.
All Kentucky public schools are still required to apply universal masking due to an emergency rule approved by the Kentucky Board of Education. Beshear, complying with a state Supreme Court order, quashed his mandate to mask in schools.
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“During the 2020-2021 school year, we saw an increase in positive cases of students after long weekends or vacations where people often congregate,” McGuire wrote in Friday’s letter. “We also know that the higher the community rates, the more impacts we will see in our schools. Right now, by reverting to a mask requirement, we hope to mitigate the spread of the virus and help maintain quarantines at minimum.”
The state has set hospitalization records in the event of a pandemic. It reported more than 5,400 new cases and 45 deaths on Thursday.
In a special meeting on Wednesday, the Kentucky Legislature’s Interim Joint Committee on Education sought consensus on non-traditional education, staff, student quarantines and funding ahead of a possible legislative session. special.
Three of the 37 schools in the diocese have already added masks as a precaution before Friday’s message due to the high number of cases, the letter said.
A new set of COVID-19 security protocols has been released by the diocese, which covers six counties, with the letter. The rules include daily “personal health assessments”, including temperature checks before leaving for school.
Masks will not be required outdoors or while students are participating in physical activity, according to the new protocols. Other exemptions are allowed in the event of disability or health problems.
Students are not required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, officials said.
“I have seen a lot of unchristian talk and action from all sides of this debate,” McGuire wrote. “But we cannot let these differences divide us. As Catholic school communities, it is important for us to come together and treat each other as Christ taught us. Although it seems that we will not be able to agree on a single COVID-19 response plan, we can unite in prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can help us learn to live in peace with each other despite our differences. “