Dear Students and Families,
Trimble County Schools and The Trimble County Board of Education had hoped to respect family choice concerning students wearing masks at school. However, at last night’s board meeting, board attorney, Grant Chenoweth advised the board on the Executive Order enacted by the Governor and the Mask Administrative Regulation passed by the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) last Friday. According to our legal counsel, a district’s refusal to comply creates the potential for loss of insurance coverage, loss of governmental and official qualified immunity, and possible litigation to require compliance. In addition, individual board members and administrators could face arrest and criminal charges for failure to enforce the mandate and teachers and/or administrators can lose their certifications. As long as the governor’s Executive Order and KBE orders remain in effect, they have the force of law and the mandates must be followed.
Based on this information, Trimble County Schools is complying with the executive order issued by Governor Andy Beshear on August 10, mandating universal masking regardless of vaccination status, in Kentucky schools. All students, staff and visitors will be required to appropriately wear a mask in all schools and on our buses for the duration of the mandate, which is currently 30 days. In addition, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) has passed a legally binding parallel regulation that mandates universal masking in school buildings and on buses for up to 270 days or unless the Department of Public Health or CDC recommends lifting these mandates.
Beginning, Monday, August 23rd, all students, staff members and visitors entering our schools or riding school buses must fully comply with the mask mandate, excluding those with a medical exemption or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask. We want all students in our community to be in school and working with our caring adults, but we will no longer be able to allow students, parents or visitors to enter the buildings or buses without a face covering. If a student refuses to wear a mask in our school buildings, we hope to respectfully conference with the student to resolve the situation, provide them with a mask and allow the school day to continue for that individual. If a student refuses to comply, following that conference, he/she will be sent home. The student can return at any time they feel ready to comply with the order.
For parents that do not wish for their children to comply with this mandate, you may choose to enroll your child in a virtual option, if your child meets specific academic criteria. A scoring rubric is used to determine qualification. Please know that the virtual option is 100% self-directed and it is provided via an instructional, on-line platform. If you wish to enroll your child in the virtual option, we will need the application completed and sent to your child’s school by Monday, August 23, 2021. Prior to making this decision, please know that any student in grades 7-12 that selects the virtual option and is approved, will be a virtual student for the remainder of the 21-22 school year. For students in grades K-6 that opt for virtual learning, these students will only have the option of returning at the end of the 9 weeks except in extenuating circumstances where a mid-term return to in-person will be considered.
We realize that this is not the news that many of you were hoping to hear. Regardless of anyone’s stance on the matter, we respect each of your decisions concerning your family’s needs and want nothing more than to work with you in providing the necessary supports for our students. We appreciate all that you do for the students of Trimble County Schools… our students… and we look forward to working with you as we move forward this school year. If you would like to discuss your options, please feel free to call your child’s principal or the Trimble Co. Board of Education.
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