Daviess County middle and high schools will transition to mask-optional status, effective Monday. All DCPS elementary schools will continue to require universal masking at all times while indoors.
All DCPS school buses will continue to require universal masking for elementary, middle and high school students per an existing federal mandate/order pertaining to mass transit, including school bus transportation.
Official with Owensboro Public Schools and Owensboro Catholic Schools said they are not changing their universal masking requirements at this time.
The updated DCPS policy was announced Tuesday and can be read in full here.
“Our ultimate goal is to allow for parent/guardian and staff decisions to choose masking based upon individual health needs and personal choice as we begin the new year in January,” said DCPS Superintendent Matt Robbins. “Anyone who wishes to continue wearing a mask at that time may do so, and that decision will continue to be honored. We will also respect the decision of individuals who choose not to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status.”
Robbins continued, “By now, I believe we have all grown to accept that COVID-19 will always be a part of our lives, just as colds, flus and other viruses are always with us. We encourage everyone to continue following basic health and hygiene practices, and it is our expectation that the rights and decisions of each individual and family will be respected.”
DCPS Superintendent Matt Robbins noted in the announcement that DCPS could go back to universal masking if conditions worsen.
“We will continue to closely monitor the rate of community spread of the virus,” he said. “It is important to emphasize that if local conditions should warrant, masking may again be among the mitigation tools used to help reduce viral spread.”
Mitigation efforts and all remaining COVID-19 protocols will remain in place, including:
- Continued advocacy for the COVID-19 vaccine/booster
- Distancing of 3 feet or greatest extent possible
- Use of proper hygiene, including frequent hand-washing and cleaning regimen
- Contact tracing, quarantines and optional “Test to Stay” availability
- HVAC controls and proper ventilation
The announcement noted that the FDA and CDC have approved the availability of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11.
“We will continue to require masking protection for the elementary age group as the vaccine requires five weeks to receive both doses of the vaccine to ensure full protection against the COVID-19 virus,” Robbins said. “Our goal is to provide the greatest levels of sustained protection to our youngest children, while allowing students to receive their full vaccination series without interruption of in-person teaching and learning.”
For this reason, the masking requirement remains in place for elementary schools including school staff, district staff, and any visitors to DCPS elementary schools.
Robbins said to direct any questions or concerns to his attention at [email protected].