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Six Tri-State Face Mask Policy Changes in One Day

Whether coming from state, local or health leaders, the decisions are clear. Masks are now either strongly recommended or mandated in the classroom.

Posted: Aug 4, 2021 11:26 PM
Updated: Aug 5, 2021 7:21 AM

With positive COVID-19 cases back to levels seen at the height of the pandemic, all three Owensboro-area superintendents are now in firm agreement: masks are no longer optional.

"Effective immediately, all three of our school districts will require masks or face coverings for all individuals in our schools, buildings and buses, regardless of vaccination status," Daviess County Public Schools Superintendent Matt Robbins said Wednesday.

District leaders for Owensboro, Daviess County and Owensboro Catholic Schools released a joint video on the policy change.

It's an about-face from their original stance. Just weeks ago, all three districts said masks would be optional.

"This decision is not going to make everybody happy, we understand that," said Dr. Matthew Constant, superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools. "But I think most everyone really wants kids back in school five days and so the strategy for that for us is to wear a mask."

Owensboro-Daviess County schools are not alone in their decision.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order Wednesday that all P-12 schools and daycares must enforce mask-wearing.

In Indiana, the Posey County Health Department changed its stance on masks as well.

Though school systems still have the final say, health officials are now recommending masks be worn inside all county schools.

Late Wednesday, The Warrick County Schools Corporation released an update to its Beginning of Year Plan, saying masks will be required in all WCSC buildings until at least the end of August.

"COVID doesn't care what color your school is and we're in this together," Diocese of Owensboro Superintendent David Kessler said. "Obviously, we want to help kids first and that's what we're here to do so if we need to do it together, we're going to do it together to make sure it happens."

The Owensboro-Daviess County schools' mask requirements will remain in place until at least Labor Day. At that point, the districts will reevaluate COVID-19 numbers in the community and decide whether to make any changes.

The shift in mask policies is also being seen in Evansville.

Two weeks ago, the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation said masks would be optional, but now the district is saying so long as the community's COVID-19 metric score is 1.5 or higher, masks will be required.

As of Wednesday, that number sits at 2.

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day across the Tri-State; temperatures climbed back into the upper 40s low 50s area-wide earlier this afternoon. Evansville‘s afternoon high temperature of 49° was our warmest in nearly a week. As for the evening ahead, temperatures will be relatively stable as a breezy southerly wind continues to bolster the mercury throughout the region; temperatures around 42° at dinner time will only fall as low as 41° by midnight. An inbound cold front moving in overnight tonight and early tomorrow morning will begin to generate chances of rainfall as early as the predawn hours on Wednesday.
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