Mask Optional Begins Monday, February 14

We have continued to monitor our numbers and get physician consults on the best time to proceed with a mask “optional” school day. Yesterday (Thursday), we only had three students in the entire system who were home due to positive COVID tests (two under one roof). Praise God, that time is FINALLY upon us! In two weeks we’ve gone from over 100 active cases to a handful. Just as advertised, Omicron comes in like a lion and leaves just as quickly. This is the first week that county schools are also reporting more “normal” operations in nearly two years! We are going to be mask optional in the Owensboro Catholic School System beginning Monday, February 14th.  I should caution you that if the numbers unexpectedly change in ways that we cannot handle (absenteeism or staffing), then we would return to masking. However, we do not anticipate this happening! We think that the coronavirus and it’s variants will be with us for a long time, but we can manage the minimal number of cases being transmitted (with your help). We will work hard to identify and test symptomatic cases.  Positive cases still need to notify the school and quarantine at home for 5 days. There will also be some masking for students returning from 5 day quarantines. We will NOT resume visitors at school Masses next week. If our numbers remain stable, we could open our Masses up to guests by February 21.   This decision is being made based on our data, but it is also in consult with local hospital physicians who represent multiple disciplines. There will be students,  faculty and staff who will still choose to mask, and they should be affirmed in their decision to protect themselves.   Coronavirus variants will be with us for a while, but we can manage its impact. Should these conditions change, we have demonstrated the ability to adapt quickly. We are doing what we promised to do, and that’s use our data combined with physician consult to make the best decisions we can for the families and staff of our school system. Please show your appreciation to faculty and staff.  We especially want to thank our health care techs, who were on the front line of compliance and ever changing protocols. But God has truly blessed the OCS community. We have a heroic and committed organization of staff and educators. I sincerely mean this. We are also sincerely appreciative for all of you who entrusted your children with us, and trusted us to provide your children with an in-school, quality education under the most adverse of circumstances. Please continue to remember these and all the efforts of the Owensboro Catholic School System in your daily prayer.– Tom Lilly, OCS President/Chancellor of the Diocese of Owensboro