FORT THOMAS, Ky. — Fort Thomas Independent Schools was the latest to transition to a mask-optional policy Thursday even while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends children wear one in classrooms.
The district sent a letter to parents explaining that administrators base their decision on two factors: When active cases are below 25 total people in the district and when the incident rate for zip code 41075 is below 50 cases per 100,000 people.
“They have at least put out actual guidelines and numbers,” said Toby Varland, who has two children in the district
“They’re trying to remove what has felt like arbitrary decision making and just kind of let everybody know, 'Hey, if you see these numbers, don't be surprised. We're going to go with or without masking,’” said Varland.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said Thursday that COVID-19 cases are dropping. However, he said, “The warning is we just had our fifth highest week in the entire pandemic. In many ways, it’s one of those, 'don’t quit in the fourth quarter.' I believe that we could be in a place in several weeks, probably two to three, where school districts can really look at that question of not requiring masks.”
Across the river in Ohio, the Director of Ohio Department of Health Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said cities are seeing a sharp, fast decline in cases. However, he said Ohio still has more than five times what is considered a high level of community spread.
“There is no county that is below a high-level threshold. So, at this time, the Ohio Department of Health continues to urge Ohioans to protect themselves and think about using each and every tool that’s available,” said Vanderhoff.
He said hospitalizations declined in Ohio by 18 percent in the past week. He said many hospitals have been able to resume providing a full scope of services, and the National Guard is scaling back support at hospitals and testing centers.
Kentucky’s governor said the Commonwealth appears to be following those trends. However, it experienced Omicron a little later than Ohio, so it has not reached the same level of relief.
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