Roughly 100 parents met at Highlands High School Tuesday evening to learn about guidelines for the upcoming school year. School staff spoke at length about what parents should expect while managing their children's education for items such as standardized testing and major deadlines. However, it was the mask mandate implemented by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear just hours before—the mandate requiring all students and staff to mask up while inside school buildings—that was hovering over parents' minds.
Parents had a range of opinions about the governor's order, with some showing support and others arguing that children should be free to go to school without face coverings.
"I don't see why wearing a simple face covering is a big deal," said Constance Grubbs, whose children attend public schools in Campbell County. "I think it's, if it's one small thing we can do to keep them learning in the classroom, it's well worth it."
Grubbs acknowledged other parents' concerns and frustrations, but she said she believes requiring masks will benefit everyone.
Local school districts are working to fall in line with Beshear's executive order, despite already having released their own masking policies -- not all of which mandated masks.
Kenton County Schools said masks will be required for employees, students and visitors, effective immediately. Fort Thomas Independent Schools echoed the same.
"It's important for our kids to be in the classroom," said Grubbs. "And one of the best ways we can do that is with universal masking, because it's one more layer of that Swiss cheese of COVID mitigation that will help our kids stay in the classroom, which is where we all agree they need to be."
Beshear said during a news conference Tuesday that masks are necessary to keep in-person learning intact.