By Michael Cuneo –
Fayette County Schools are again moving back to optional face-covering policies while encouraging students and staff to wear masks.
In a letter sent to parents on Jan. 24, the school system cited a decrease in positive COVID-19 cases as the reason for the shift from the mask requirements implemented at the beginning of the year.
During the week of Jan.14-Jan.20, Fayette schools reported 128 positive cases, a marginal decrease from the prior week.
“Based on these numbers, we have decided to go back to optional face coverings starting Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022.” the message sent to parents reads.
Fayette schools saw their highest rates of COVID-19 in August when as many as 250 students or staff contracted the virus in one week.
While masks are now optional, the school system reiterated that coverings will still be required on busses, per federal regulations.
“The federal face-covering mandate for students and drivers on school transportation is still in effect and has been extended through the middle of March 2022. All school bus riders must wear face coverings while being transported by Fayette County Public Schools in order to comply with the mandate.” The letter states.
While rates of COVID-19 were dropping in Fayette schools late in 2021—reaching as few as five cases in one week—a recent uptick in cases caused school officials to revert to mask mandates early in 2022. Now, school officials say that has changed.
“We are pleased to report that there has not been a significant spike in positive cases at our schools as we had suspected given that the new variant is easier to transmit.”
For Now, students and staff within Fayette County schools are free to choose whether they wear facial coverings on school properties.