School year expected to have normal start; first day is Aug. 10

July 28, 2022 | 12:07 am

Updated July 28, 2022 | 7:25 am

Graphic by Owensboro Times

With Aug. 10 as the first day of school locally, all signs are pointing to a “normal” start to the academic year. There are no mask requirements currently in place, and after a recent surge the number of COVID-19 cases in Daviess County is back on the decline.

Officials at Owensboro and Daviess County public school districts and Owensboro Catholic Schools did not provide much comment but indicated that there are no policies — specifically in reference to masking — that are expected to be implemented. 

All three school systems ended the 2021-22 year with no mask mandate in place.

The state’s largest school system by far — Jefferson County Public Schools — reportedly reinstituted their masking policy earlier this week after a rise in COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County.

But JCPS has more than 100,000 students across their schools. That’s compared to roughly 12,000 for DCPS and 6,000 for OPS.

While cases in some parts of the state, such as Jefferson County, have continued to rise in recent weeks, Daviess County’s numbers fell slightly during each of the last two reports. 

On July 5, local health officials said the community should take note after a big jump in the number of COVID-19 cases reported that day. The 364 cases reported for that week was nearly double the week prior, and was 17 times as many as were reported April 5.

The Green River District Health Department has continued to release the number of new COVID-19 infections each week. The number in Daviess County dropped as low as 7 for the report on April 12 (meaning only 7 cases were reported over the previous 7 days).

The numbers slowly began to climb, reaching triple digits when 130 were reported on June 14. That rose to 182 on June 21 and 188 on June 28 before the big jump reported Tuesday.

The numbers jumped again on July 12 to reach 463 cases in Daviess County over a weeklong span. That dropped to 431 on July 19 and further to 406 on July 26.

GRDHD Director Clay Horton said in early July that “even though we had gotten some relief through the spring and were in a much better place with COVID-19,” it wasn’t completely over and there would be times of increased community spread.

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital officials shared a similar message at the time. They reinstituted their mask requirement at all facilities around that time, and the policy remains in place. 

Previously, OH Marketing Director Brian Hamby said, “We would advise people to take common sense precautions to keep themselves and the community safe this summer. Also be aware that masks are again required for visiting our hospital — a precaution that we are taking to help slow the spread of the virus.”

Horton continues to stress that the first thing he recommends is that people be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, especially those who are most at risk. 

“COVID-19 is still having an impact on our society. Ignoring it won’t change that,” he said. “Even though we all wish it would go away, we have to continue to protect ourselves. Most importantly we need to continue to encourage everyone to stay up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations.” 

As far as specific recommendations for school settings, Horton noted the CDC and the Kentucky Department for Public Health have published detailed guidance and recommendations for school systems on how to best protect their students and employees. 

“That guidance includes a recommendation to wear a well fitting-mask in indoor public settings including K-12 schools when communities are seeing high levels of Covid-19,” Horton said. “I agree with that guidance and it is what I recommend as well.”

County-level data for COVID-19 can be found at and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest COVID-19 data. COVID-19 Community Levels for every county can be found at Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. The COVID-19 Community Level is currently classified as high for Daviess County.

July 28, 2022 | 12:07 am

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