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As Ky. Supreme Court blocks Beshear's power on masking, parents remain split on masks in schools

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Posted at 11:13 PM, Aug 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-24 10:07:38-04

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is canceling his mask mandate for schools, he announced Monday afternoon. That comes after the Kentucky Supreme Court overturned a temporary injunction that blocked laws to limit the governor’s executive power.

Public schools still require masks, and some parents said they’re OK with that.

When it comes to COVID-19 guidelines, Boone County parent Aaron Gillum said he thinks every school is different. He believes decisions should be based on the circumstances despite masks being required at public schools as regulated by the Kentucky Board of Education.

“What I would encourages is because of House Bill 1 being held up by the Supreme Court that essentially grants the rights of each of our school board, listen to your parents,” Gillum said. “Do your parents want masks, or want choice? What kind of safety measures do they want? Listen to them and formulate an HB1 plan.”

Beshear was considering a return of his statewide mask mandate due to the state’s increase in COVID-19 cases, but since the state supreme court voted to limit his powers, he said the decision lies with the legislative branch.

“Ultimately their call, and they can look at all the information and make the best decision that they can,” he said at a news conference Monday evening. “If it was still in my authority, we’d have to look over the next two weeks and if we continue to see the acceleration in hospitalizations, I would make the decision to do it.”

While parents and legislators debate the topic of masks in schools, some said there’s still a concern if schools opt out.

“(My) only concern is them not being able to be vaccinated and adults being carriers even if we are vaccinated,” Newport parent Clifford Lickert said.

Elementary and middle school students are unable to get vaccinated because of their age.

“It can be transferred,” Lickert said. “She may not catch it from the same school, but he could still get the virus just because she brought it from another child.”

A federal hearing was supposed to be held in Northern Kentucky Tuesday over the school mask mandate in private schools, but that likely won’t be necessary now, as private schools will now be able to make their own rules about students wearing masks.