I hope this message finds you and your family doing well after the first few days of the 2021-22 school year. Ensuring the safety of our students and staff will always remain the top priority for Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) and successfully mitigating the spread of COVID-19 has been at the forefront of these efforts for the past eighteen months. Part of this process includes the implementation of layers of safety protocols designed to help continue in-person learning, five days a week. We recognize when our students are in school full-time, our community thrives and students are better positioned to achieve at much higher levels academically, socially, and emotionally. With this understanding in mind, WCPS is committed to implementing reasonable layers of mitigation strategies in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19 throughout our school community.
Recently, our local community has seen a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, especially among those who are not vaccinated. In an effort to keep our students in school for in-person learning five days per week, WCPS will require face masks for students and staff inside our facilities regardless of vaccination status beginning this Wednesday, August 11th. The face mask requirement will continue until the Labor Day weekend (September 3rd) at which time, the requirement will be revisited. The CDC mandate requiring face masks on buses will continue as well. This decision comes after a careful review of current school and community conditions, as well as the continuous collaboration with local and state health officials.
Although there is debate about the effectiveness of masks in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, we are extremely confident that wearing a mask will enable us to minimize the number of quarantines; thus minimizing the disruption created by contact tracing and the entire quarantining process. This is due to a recent change in quarantine guidance from the Kentucky Department of Public Health which now states: “In the K-12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students who were more than three feet away from an infected student if both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of masks.” For a link to the Kentucky Department of Public Health’s guidance for in-person learning click here https://bit.ly/3jkyxHS.
According to the CDC, “correct and consistent mask use is a critical step everyone can take to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19”. The agency also says to make sure your mask fits snugly and to pick a mask with layers. For more information on the protection a facial covering gives click here. As always, our schools will have masks available for students and staff who need them. It is also important to note that according to the CDC and the Kentucky Department of Public Health, vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. WCPS is encouraging those who are eligible to please consider getting vaccinated as we work together to help our community move forward. To find a location to get a vaccine click here.
In closing, I recognize this announcement will come as a disappointment to some but this additional layer of protection will improve our ability to remain in school five days per week throughout the fall semester. Thank you for your continued support of our students and staff during this challenging time and please reach out if you ever need our assistance. Take care!
Superintendent, Warren County Public Schools