September 13, 2021
Dear Bracken County Schools Staff and Families,
When the legislative special session ended this past Friday, they overturned the mandate by the state board of education requiring masks to be worn inside a school facility and placed control with the local board of education and the local health department. Because of this decision, the following changes are listed below. Our goal is to not close in-person instruction unless required/recommended to do so by the Department of Public Health, the Local Health Department, and/or the Superintendent. Thank you in advance for your continued support and dedication to our school district and our kids.
Below is the matrix and metric that Bracken County Schools will follow:
High (Red) >25 cases per 100,000 population
Substantial (Orange) >10-25 cases per 100,000 population
Masks are required for all students, staff, and visitors within schools and district owned buildings.
Masks are recommended for all students, staff, and visitors within schools and district owned buildings.
Incidence Rate Review for Masking:
- Each Thursday at 6:00 PM, the local incidence rate will be documented based upon the incidence rate reported at kycovid19.ky.gov - kycovid19.ky.gov (egov.com). Based on the incidence rate and color for Bracken County at this time, decisions will be made for the following week (beginning with the next Monday or first day of school for that week). If there is a change in masking requirements for the upcoming week, communication will be sent to families on the preceding Friday. If there is no change, no communication will be sent.
- Face coverings must be worn by all staff and students (regardless of vaccination status) on BCS school buses in alignment with a federal CDC mandate which is currently still in place.
- Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anyone utilizing public transportation must wear a face covering at all times. This includes school buses.
COVID Immunizations Not Mandatory
- BCS will continue to provide information to the community about COVID immunization opportunities as a courtesy for those who wish to access the vaccine. However, the COVID immunization will not be required for staff or students. If you would like to get the vaccine for yourself or your child, please contact the Bracken County Health Department.
- Families will have an opportunity to provide vaccination information to the health department (if applicable), however, that will not be mandatory.
- Quarantines of healthy/non-symptomatic students and staff will be discontinued unless they have not been vaccinated and been exposed. If a student or staff member has been exposed and not fully vaccinated, they will be eligible to get tested on day 5 after exposure and with a negative result return to school on day 8 if they are not having symptoms. (PCR test only)
- Test to Stay, This program, would allow a student to attend school even if they have been exposed at school by following the criteria below: A.) Show no symptoms B.) Wear a mask indoors when at school C.) Have been exposed to COVID-19 at school only D.) Quarantine when not at school E.) Test negative daily during the TEST to STAY Program. Daily testing for seven days with a daily Antigen test. Universal masking is required and at this time not a option
- Should a student or staff member test positive for COVID, or show symptoms commonly associated with COVID, they will be asked to isolate for 10 days or test on day 5 after exposure and with a negative result can return to school on day 8. Fully-vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine following an exposure unless he/she is experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- Fever or feeling feverish (e.g., chills, sweating)
- New Cough
- Difficulty Breathing
- Sore Throat
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- New loss of taste or smell.
- BCS will work to make COVID testing more accessible for symptomatic students/staff through the Bracken County Health Department at each school.
- We recommend distancing of 3 feet for students with mask and 6 feet without mask when possible without changing the schedule or physical use of space in the school. An example is to try to spread desks out as far as possible in each class. This recommendation should not prevent student group work, other instructional activities, having students at cap size in classes or eating and socialization during lunch. Student interaction is also essential to the well-being of our students.
Visitors in BCS Schools/Facilities Permitted
- In the 2021-2022 school year, visitors will be permitted in schools, as they were pre-COVID. Face coverings will be required for visitors, unless a change in matrix.
Field Trips Resume
- Field trips, including out-of-state trips, will resume in 2021-2022.
School attendance options
- The following two attendance options will be offered:
- Traditional In-Person Model: All students will attend school all day, every day, and will practice Health & Safety precautions listed above.
- Virtual Model: Students in grade K-12 will have the opportunity to submit an application for virtual instruction. All applications will be reviewed and a determination will be made. Students may be eligible for homebound instruction if they have a medical condition.
Athletics and Activities Resume as Normal
- All guidance in this document is applicable to athletics/extra-curricular activities and athletics governed by KHSAA must follow their requirements.
- BCS will continue to encourage good hand hygiene, such as reminding students to wash hands after using the restroom, before meals, etc., and provide access to hand sanitizer stations.
- Touchpoints (i.e. doorknobs, light switches, etc.) will continue to be disinfected throughout all buildings on a daily basis.
- School buses will continue to be disinfected twice daily.
- Teachers and staff will continue to have access to disinfectant supplies, including disinfecting spray, to clean high-touch areas regularly if desired.
- The circulation of outdoor air within district buildings, via mechanical systems, will continue throughout the year.
In addition to the protocols listed above, BCS will continue to encourage families to keep students at home when showing symptoms of illness.
Thank you for your ongoing patience and partnership as we have navigated the COVID pandemic. We are looking forward to providing our students and staff with much more normalcy in the coming school year.