September 14, 2021
Dear Knox County Families,
We are writing to share information about Senate Bill 1 (SB1) passed by the General Assembly last week during a special session called for by Governor Andy Beshear. We hope that this information helps you understand the current status and next steps for COVID-19 mitigation in the Knox County Public Schools.
Ultimate Goal of the Knox County Board of Education
The goal of the Knox County Board of Education is to prioritize in-person learning for all students in the safest manner possible. We believe that the most meaningful learning occurs inside our classrooms. We will protect the health and well-being of our school community while aiming for rigorous and engaging instruction for all students.
This bill removed the Kentucky Board of Education’s authority to issue a state wide mask mandate for all schools. SB1 turns the decision making over to the local board of education on whether masks are mandated in their schools. Local boards are encouraged to work with their stakeholders (families, staff, healthcare professionals) to make this determination.
Current Status of Masking in the Knox County Public Schools
The Knox County Board of Education will continue to implement the current masking protocols at this time. Students, staff, and visitors must wear masks in school buildings and on school buses1.
(1Those with a mask exception from a healthcare provider will continue to be excused from wearing a mask.)
There are several reasons why KCPS is not taking immediate steps to make changes:
- Current countywide data provided by the Knox County Health Department and surrounding health departments continue to show an increase in positive COVID cases.
- When masks are properly worn, it reduces the chance that the person will need to quarantine if in contact with someone who tests positive.
- If face masks are optional, any close contact of a positive case will be required to quarantine. KCPS goal is to remain in-person for all students.
Next Steps Regarding Masking
The Knox County Board of Education has already started the process of conducting surveys to gather feedback from our stakeholders. We will be working with healthcare providers and monitoring the daily incidence rates for the county and within our schools. The Knox County Board of Education will use various sources of information to make informed choices in the future regarding the use of masks in KCPS. You will be notified of any changes implemented by the Knox County Board of Education.
Next Steps for COVID-19 Mitigation
SB1 requires all public school districts to develop an updated COVID-19 Operations Plan that will be sent to the Kentucky Department of Education. This plan addresses face mask requirements, quarantine procedures, testing opportunities, non-traditional instruction (NTI) days, and remote learning.
Together, we can reduce COVID-19 in our schools and increase opportunities for in-person academic success. Together, we can make KCPS a top 10% performing school district in the state.
The district’s COVID-19 Operations Plan is available for download and review in PDF format. If you require the document in a format other than PDF for accessibility purposes, please call 606-546-3157 or e-mail email@example.com