Parents react to continued mask mandate in Fayette County Schools

Friday, Fayette County Schools parent Brandon Clark says about ten parents rallied at Garrett Morgan Elementary to protest the ongoing mandate.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Parents are speaking out in response to the continued mandatory masking policies in Fayette County Schools. The school district is one of just a few left in the state with a universal masking policy.

Fayette County Schools parent Brandon Clark helped to organize the ‘Unmask Our Kids’ rally on Friday morning at Garrett Morgan Elementary. He says about ten parents gathered to rally against the district’s mask mandates.

Clark says the group is pushing for students and parents to be able to make the decision of whether to mask up, not the district.

“It needs to be the parent and child’s choice. Not just a rule because it’s a rule,” said Clark.

This past week, Fayette County Schools reported about 49 COVID cases in students, and about nine cases among staff members. However, the county is still in the ‘red’ zone, according to the CDC.

Wednesday, in a special meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education, the district voted to give Superintendent Demetrus Liggins the ability to make decisions on masking requirements without calling the Board of Education into session, as long as that decision is based “on guidance and recommendation of public health agencies.”

The district says until the county gets out of that high community risk level, the mask mandate will remain in place.

“Not all parents may agree or disagree, and that’s been the case throughout. That’s been very consistent, that’s been very clear that we wanted to follow the guidelines in partnership with health agencies and that’s what we’re continuing to do,” said Superintendent Liggins on Wednesday.

Clark says he and some other parents are confused by the continued mandate, after the City of Lexington lifted its indoor masking mandates Tuesday.

“We weren’t trying to be controversial. It just seemed like the talks weren’t getting anywhere. So we wanted to take action and set a good example for our kids: when they see a wrong, to right it,” said Clark.

Others, like Felicia Watkins, are neutral on the mandates for all students. She says her son will continue to mask up regardless.

“I got the email and I read it and I was like, ‘okay.’ Like I said I’m pretty neutral. If they say the mask mandate is no more, Parker’s already said he’ll continue to wear a mask to school,” said Watkins.

However, some are still in firm support of the policies, so long as Fayette County remains in the red zone.

“My son that’s in Fayette County is immunocompromised. So even though he’s had three vaccines, we want to continue that he stays healthy and masking allows him to be a part of school, a part of the district, and a part of the community,” said Fayette County Schools parent Jill Campbell.

According to Clark, the group of parents that rallied Friday are prepared to rally again next week if changes aren’t made.

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