Fayette County recommends but won’t require masks for students

Credit: Jill Howard Church for the AJC

Credit: Jill Howard Church for the AJC

When the new academic year begins Aug. 2, Fayette County Public Schools will “highly recommend” but not require face masks for unvaccinated students. School administrators outlined the initial health and safety plans at the July 26 Board of Education meeting, but noted that they are subject to change based on local coronavirus rates. Federal policy requires face masks to be worn on school buses. Classrooms will maintain seating charts in case contact tracing is needed, and any quarantines will be based on state health department guidelines. Playgrounds will be open, and enhanced sanitation measures from last year will continue.

Superintendent Jonathan Patterson said in a message to parents that he encourages “all eligible members in your family [be] vaccinated,” although vaccine status for students and staff will remain confidential. The county reported that last school year, 936 students and 319 staff members tested positive for COVID-19, and 5,787 students and 635 staff had to quarantine due to exposure. Patterson said the administration will look at virus data daily and make health policy decisions accordingly. Several dozen parents who commented at the meeting said they oppose mask mandates.