The Kentucky General Assembly nullified mask mandates at public schools and daycare centers last week during its special session.
The mandate will no longer be in effect beginning Friday, but Frankfort Independent Schools and Franklin County Schools have both said they will require masks after the mandate ends.
“At this point, it’s a decision the data makes for us,” FCS Superintendent Mark Kopp said Monday. “We look at the data and consult the health department when we make decisions like this.
“We have to make a decision for the safety for our staff and students. You can’t make a decision based on anything else. We consulted with the health department, who has been a great partner with us through this, and they strongly urged us to continue the mask mandate.”
FIS Supt. Houston Barber posted about the mask mandate Friday on Twitter.
“The FIS BOE (board of education) team unanimously passed a universal masking mandate indoors before any mandate existed from the governor or KBE (Kentucky Board of Education) and this still rings true today despite any changes from KGA (Kentucky General Assembly),” Barber posted on Twitter Friday. “We are in control of our destiny. Mask up!”
On Monday the Franklin County Health Department announced 142 new cases of COVID-19 since its last report on Thursday. Franklin County has had 5,701 cases of the virus since the pandemic began in March 2020.
The health department also announced six COVID-related deaths in August, bringing the county’s total number of COVID deaths to 67. Prior to August, FCHD has not seen a COVID-related death since April.
The age range of those who died in August was 56-83 with the average age being 66.
There are currently 149 active cases of the virus in Franklin County.
The health department started a new process with contract tracing Monday.
“While in this surge, we are shifting gears to help with the mitigation of the virus and ensure everyone is contacted as quickly as possible,” FCHD Deputy Director Brittany Parker said. “FCHD will be mailing out isolation letters and information to positive individuals and will not be calling folks.
“The letter will detail how to isolate, how to calculate your days and will serve as your work/school release note. Please ensure when you seek out testing they have your correct/updated contact information.”
Parker said the health department will continue to call all cases of those 18 years old and younger and will follow closely anyone in a congregate care setting.
Starting today, there will be free drive-thru COVID testing available daily at the FCHD Public Health Center, 851 East-West Connector.
Testing will be available to anyone in the community on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7-9 a.m., thanks to a partnership with the health department, FIS, FCS and Gravity Diagnostics, which will perform the test. No pre-registration is required, and people can register on-site.
Starting today, testing will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-6 p.m., and it will only be available to FCS K-12 staff, students and their families.
Mako Medical Labs will be performing the test, and pre-registration is required. Those interested may register at FCHD.org/MAKOtest.
At the health department’s last two testing clinics, 117 people were tested Friday and 83 were tested Monday.