Beshear calls a special session to discuss school COVID-19 policies and precautions


(Courtesy of WTVQ)

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear calls for a special session to discuss COVID-19 policies.

On September 9, in the same week that Kentucky reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases, Kentucky lawmakers voted in favor of Senate Bill 1, nullifying the statewide school masking mandate set by the Kentucky Board of Education. This leaves this decision up to each individual school district.

Along with this, a school district can now assign individual classes and schools to remote instruction, otherwise known as Non-traditional Instruction (NTI), for students or staff who have had significant absences due to COVID-19. After authorization from the local board of education, the decision would become the superintendent’s final decision. This is effective until December 31, 2021.

Superintendent Brian Robinson discussed how the Fort Thomas School District would most likely make decisions based on patterns in the region. 

“Ultimately, we would make decisions that would allow us to maintain attendance for the greatest number of students.”

Highlands High School principal John Darnell echoed Robinson’s sentiment.

“I do believe our district will continue to monitor local conditions and work collaboratively to make student attendance a high priority.”

The Department of Public Health now will be required to develop a COVID-19 “test to stay” plan that may be implemented in school districts, which can be useful in minimizing the impact of quarantining non-symptomatic students and staff. This would also include an on-site testing option for non-symptomatic students with COVID-19 exposures to stay at school if they test negative multiple days after the exposure. 

The Senate also voted to override the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2, which is now heading to the House of Representatives for override consideration. 

Senate Bill 2 establishes safety protocols for caregivers, which include family and friends, to visit loved ones in long-term care facilities, which would prioritize the social and emotional needs of residents. 

This bill includes strengthening the state healthcare system by encouraging those to get the COVID-19 vaccine and increasing testing capability. Along with this, this bill would declare a statewide face masking mandate void. 

Moving forward, the Fort Thomas Independent School District will be holding its monthly meeting this Monday, September 13.