Hopkins Co. Schools votes to implement mask requirement, regardless of vaccination status

Board held meeting to discuss back-to-school mask policy on Friday
Hopkins Co. Schools votes to implement mask requirement, regardless of vaccination status
Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 4:51 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2021 at 7:14 PM CDT
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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WFIE) - The Hopkins County Board of Education called for a special meeting on Friday to talk about masks in schools when the district starts the fall semester next week.

At the meeting, the board approved the measure to require masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, passing with a 3-1 vote.

School leaders held one meeting earlier this week, but they felt another was necessary.

On Monday, the only action taken was that masks have to be worn by everyone on school buses.

Passionate parents filled the Hopkins County Career and Technology Center on Friday, ready to speak their minds about whether their kids should go back to school in masks this year.

After over an hour of public comment, the board passed the motion to require masks.

Parent Mark Foster says implementing masks is the best way to keep students in the classroom.

“As far as keeping kids safe, and in school, you know the remote school just doesn’t work as well,” Foster said. “I think it’s just the best shot we have is having the kids wear masks, so I think they did the right thing.”

Alicia Evans says her children are old enough to make the choice for themselves.

“I know there are a lot of mixed feelings about the masks,” Evans said. “Having a mask mandate would not be my pick. I feel like it should be an optional thing, I feel like it’s hard to concentrate wearing a mask in school all day.”

Evans brought her daughters to the meeting. Kaylee, who’s going to be a high school junior this year, told the board what it’s been like attending school during a pandemic.

“It is so hard to take a college-level course, online, through a computer screen,” Kaylee said to the board.

Kaylee says if she has to wear a mask to go back, that’s what she’ll do.

“I would rather not wear a mask in school, it’s harder to concentrate, I feel like you’re messing with it the whole time,” Kaylee said. “But if that’s what we have to do to be in class again, then I’m up for it.”

Board chair John Osborne says Friday was the most parents he’s seen attend a meeting in a long time.

“The biggest decision for us was making sure that we kept our kids in school,” Osborne said. “Through conversations with our local health department, the only way we were going to be able to keep our kids in school was through masking.”

“If everyone wears it, especially if you’re all indoors, hopefully that’ll allow kids to stay in school and stay safe,” Foster said.

“If putting a mask on is what you need to do, it wouldn’t be my pick, but if that’s what we have to do, we’re going to wear a mask,” Evans said.

Part of Friday’s meeting was deciding between starting on Monday, or pushing the first day back two weeks.

Board members decided to keep the first day of school scheduled for Monday.

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