The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new recommendations for wearing masks in public indoor settings — including universal masking for all staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools. They also added the recommendation to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
The new recommendation comes after developments in the Delta variant among vaccinated individuals.
As reported on July 16, local school systems released a joint statement saying that masks will be optional for all students and staff at school functions during the year. They also announced their intentions to return to full, in-person instruction for the 2021-22 school year.
“All three districts wanted to present a united front as students and staff return to in-person learning in each district’s buildings while providing information specific to each district and highlighting the importance of the vaccine in our community to those who are able to receive it,” the statement read.
Daviess County Public Schools Public Information Officer Lora Wimsatt said that DCPS is currently reviewing information and recommendations and will communicate plans accordingly.
Owensboro Catholic Schools Chief Administrative Officer Keith Osbourne said that with the CDC recommendation, administrators are meeting Wednesday morning to discuss plans for the coming school year. As of right now, they intend to move forward with the plan in place.
Owensboro Public Schools Public Information Officer Jared Revlett said that this does not currently affect the plans for the first day of the system.
In a virtual meeting with city and county officials Tuesday afternoon, Green River District Health Department Director Clay Horton said that he does not agree with the current plan in place for the schools. Although the local virtual meeting was prior to the CDC’s announcement, Horton said he talked to and encouraged superintendents to consider any guidelines the CDC announced.
“I am highly concerned about (the plans for optional mask-wearing). If we have lots of people in a building together, all day long, without masks, with the transmission rates that we’re seeing, we’re gonna see this get a lot worse,” Horton said.
Horton said most of the cases found in Daviess County are among unvaccinated individuals, and he said until vaccines are approved for children under 12 years old to continue to rely on strategies like wearing masks.