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WILLIAMSBURG—Williamsburg Independent students, staff and visitors will continue to be required to wear masks while inside the school and on buses after Tuesday evening’s special-called meeting of the Williamsburg Board of Education.

The decision comes after Senate Bill 1 was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly last week, removing the Kentucky Board of Education’s authority to issue a statewide mask mandate in the schools and requiring that districts make their own policy regarding masks.

Before Superintendent Tim Melton read off the nine guidelines that he recommended the district follow, a parent of children in the district asked that the board continue requiring masks to be worn in the school, which was quickly followed by a unanimous vote by board members to do just that.

“There was guidance that was put out by KDE in late August and what I have done here is I have adapted it to the procedures that we are going to follow,” Melton said.

Melton said that students, staff and visitors over 3 years of age would be required to wear face coverings while inside the school building or in a classroom setting, including on the school bus.

“As mentioned earlier, it is a mitigation strategy, it is an opportunity to be in the school building,” Melton said.

He noted that while face masks outdoors will be optional, students and staff will be encouraged to wear masks even when outdoors if in close proximity to one another. He also discussed the importance of social distancing and said that the district is working to maximize space in the classroom.

Quarantine and contact tracing were also discussed during Tuesday’s meeting, as Melton noted that a form would be sent home with students, in partnership with the Whitley County Health Department, encouraging students and families to quarantine properly when needed.

Virtual learning will continue being an option for those students who have had to quarantine due to coming in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Melton reiterated that all of these safety measures will allow Williamsburg Independent School to continue having in-seat classes.

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