Henderson County Schools now requiring masks for first day of school

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HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT)– Masks will be required for all students and staff in Henderson County Schools regardless of vaccination status. This will be required on August 11, which is the first day of school.

This announcement comes two weeks after Henderson County school leaders said face masks will be optional for the upcoming school year. Since the number of positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the community, mask wearing will be required to help lower the number of students required to quarantine in the future. School leaders say this mask mandate will help keep students in school.

School officials are asking everyone to do their part to help slow the spread. They will continue to monitor local incidence rate and will make adjustments such as making masks optional again in the future when numbers begin to lower. 

Here is the updated HCS Healthy at School Guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year:

● Require masks for all persons while indoors in all classroom and non-classroom settings, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status as required under the Kentucky Department for Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Operations.

● Require masks on school buses for all students (preschool through 12th grade) and for drivers/monitors as required under the Kentucky Department for Public Health Guidance for K-12 School Operations.

● Contact Tracing and Quarantine: A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes while the person was considered contagious.

* Exception: In the K-12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were at least >3 feet away from an infected student if both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of masks and other K-12 prevention strategies were in place. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting. Unvaccinated students, teachers, or staff who are identified as close contact should be instructed to self-quarantine regardless of whether the exposure occurred within or outside of the school setting. Quarantine may be discontinued when the local public health department determines the individual is safe to be around others or: – after day 7 if the individual is symptom-free and receives a negative COVID-19 test 5 days or later after the last date of exposure to the case. – after day 10 without testing if the individual is symptom-free. Fully-vaccinated persons do not need to quarantine following an exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 if he/she is not experiencing symptoms, but are recommended to be tested 3-5 days after an exposure.

● Social distancing of 3 feet will be practiced to the greatest extent possible.

● Proper handwashing techniques will be practiced and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the building.

● Parents/guardians are requested to screen students for symptoms before sending them to school. Please report symptoms and/or positive Covid-19 cases to your child’s school.

● High traffic areas and school buses will be cleaned frequently.

● We will continue to limit visitors to schools. Nonessential visitors, volunteers, activities, & field trips will be limited.

● Vaccination clinics (for those 12 & up) are available at the local health department and hospital/clinics. Showing proof of vaccination is not required.

● Parents/guardians that would like to discuss possible alternative learning options may call HCS Student Services at 270-854-0141.

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