As the special session of the Kentucky Legislature began Tuesday, a bill aimed at addressing multiple issues with schools and the rise of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky began making its way through the legislative body.
Some of the most notable aspects of SB1 include the following:
- Repealing the Kentucky Board of Education mask mandate in public schools. If the bill goes into effect, local school boards would be left with implementing mask mandates in their respective districts.
- Repeal the Kentucky Department of Public Health’s mask requirement for childcare centers.
- Add 20 virtual instruction days for school districts, to go along with the 10 NTI days that are currently granted to school districts. Many schools have already used NTI days, but the number remains at 10 while allowing schools the extra virtual instruction days that can be used for particular schools, grades, or classrooms.
- “Test to Stay” programs already being utilized in school districts such as Russell County which allows a student to come to school if they were a direct contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 so long as they test negative every day.
- Districts can use 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 attendance data for SEEK funding so school districts don’t lose state funds due to low attendance numbers from COVID protocols.
- Allowing retired teachers more flexibility to return to the classroom.
- Allowing school districts to incentivize teachers and students to get the COVID-19 vaccine but specifically banning “intimidation tactics or negative incentives.”
The bill passed through the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 8-5 on Tuesday.