Majority of Kentucky school boards vote in favor of mask mandates

An overwhelming majority of school boards in Kentucky voted in favor of mask mandates, according to a count from the Kentucky School Boards Association.

As of Friday morning, 165 of the state’s 171 public school districts announced that they will require masks, representing 96 percent of districts in the state, the group said on Twitter.

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The state’s school mask mandate expires Friday under recently-enacted legislation that was passed earlier this month during a special legislative session.

Senate Bill 1, which took effect when it became law on Sept. 9, nullified the Kentucky Board of Education’s mask mandate in public schools. The decision on masks would instead be left up to individual districts.

The bill also prevents the state from imposing school mask mandates until June 2023.

The GOP-controlled legislature passed the bill earlier this month, but Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) swiftly vetoed the portions that eliminated the mask mandate. The legislature quickly voted to override the veto.

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The portion of the bill eliminating the statewide mask took effect on Friday, the Kentucky School Board Association said on its website.

Of the Bluegrass State's 171 districts, only six have said that masks will be optional, the association said.

Beshear reported 5,133 new coronavirus infections and 45 new deaths in Kentucky on Friday. He said that for the second straight day, there are fewer than 100 ICU beds available across the state.

Beshear added that 24 children are in the hospital due to COVID-19. In addition, 463 residents are on a ventilator, which he said is “more than ever before.”

“This isn’t politics, this isn’t a chance to blame other people or to try to re-write history,” Beshear said. “This is an important moment for us to do the right things — to get vaccinated, to put on masks. To remember that this isn’t about Democrat, Republican, or red or blue: it’s about life and death.”