School board narrowly passes mask requirement in schools

Students, employees, and visitors will be required to continue wearing masks indoors at school according to action taken by the Russell County Board of Education in a special-called meeting Thursday.

Masks have been required in schools for the entire school year thus far thanks to a mandate put into place by the Kentucky Board of Education. The state legislature nullified that mandate during the special legislative session last week, leaving it up to local school boards.

Russell County Schools Superintendent Michael Ford made the recommendation, which passed by a 3-2 vote with Sheila Wicker, Dick Kazsuk, and Brenda Higginbotham voting in favor and Joy Stephens Wilson and Gerald Murray voting in opposition.

Several local residents attended the meeting. Most who spoke voiced opposition to the board passing a mask requirement. Those who opposed said the masks were not effective, especially when students didn’t wear them properly, while one resident who spoke said he had a child in the school system who was immuno-deficient and said he believed masks were effective.

Ford said he believed a mask requirement was needed and it would cut down the number of quarantines in the school, noting at one point that every medical professional who reached out to him on the issue was in favor of requiring masks.

Ford said although he disagreed with some of the board members on the issue, he applauded them for their work and their commitment to the school district.

The requirement goes into immediate effect.

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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.