Interim Commissioner Kevin C. Brown’s June 26 Letter


Kevin C. Brown
Interim Commissioner of Education


KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
300 Sower Boulevard  Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Phone: (502) 564-3141

www.education.ky.gov

June 26, 2020


Dear Kentucky Public School Families:


As discussions continue about reopening schools in the fall, I am sharing with you Kentucky's Healthy at School
guidance released Wednesday.


The Department for Public Health guidelines state that all students will be expected to wear a mask on buses and at
school except for kindergarteners and students with medical conditions that prevent them from wearing masks.
Masks will be required when 6 feet of space can't be maintained in classrooms and while moving through
buildings. Schools will be asked to mark 6 feet in distance, much like what is occurring now in our stores,
groceries and other businesses.


We need your help in ensuring that our students throughout the state wear masks and understand the importance of
social distancing. I know that the idea of wearing masks has become more of a political statement than a public
health one. That’s unfortunate, because wearing a mask is one of the best ways we have right now to limit the
spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. I know many, if not most of you, want your students to
return to the classroom and we want that too. But for that to happen, we must make sure our schools are not turning
into sources of infection for our communities.


Please continue to be role models for your students and your community. You can do this by wearing masks in
public and stressing the importance of wearing a mask to your children. Your children look to you first for
direction and they follow your good example.


Also included in the guidance is if social distancing can't be maintained in school cafeterias, schools should
consider allowing students to eat their meals in classrooms. School assemblies must be limited and districts should
follow the public health guidance on large gatherings.


Please understand that your school district will be expected to enforce social distancing, ask students to wear
masks, check their temperatures, frequently sanitize surfaces and assist in contact tracing. Students who have
temperatures greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit upon arrival to school will be sent home.


I know some people also are upset by the idea of contact tracing. When the guidance says contact tracing, it means
public health officials will be given access to documents like bus manifests and seating charts to determine who
had close contact with a student or teacher who has tested positive for COVID-19. This practice has been used for
decades to help limit the spread of other highly infection diseases like measles and mumps.


I also wanted to let you know that on Wednesday, I issued a memorandum that temporarily suspends the statute
capping non-traditional instruction (NTI) days at 10. I also will be making a recommendation to the Kentucky
Board of Education for an administrative regulation that will allow unlimited NTI days for the next school year.
This will give districts the flexibility they need to deliver instruction either online or in-person as their needs
change during this pandemic.


I do realize that many of these requirements are going to be difficult for districts to plan for and for students and
families to accept. But as in the rest of our lives, the right thing to do isn’t always the easy thing to do. Wearing
masks and maintaining social distance are the primary defense we have right now to protect our children and our
communities from COVID-19 as schools reopen. Together we can make great strides to keep every child safe.


Sincerely,


Kevin
 





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