Students at Scribner Middle School head back to class on the first day for New Albany Floyd County.  About half chose to wear masks. Aug. 3, 2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two local school districts have changed their policies on indoor masking for students, staff and visitors.

Masks are required inside schools at New Albany Floyd County Schools as of Monday after Floyd County entered Indiana’s “orange” COVID-19 advisory level last week, according to Superintendent Brad Snyder. In Indiana, counties enter the “orange” level after reporting between 100 to 199 new COVID-19 cases per week and testing positivity rates between 10% and 14.9%.

“We will continue to follow the data,” Snyder said in a message Tuesday to WDRB News. “When disease manifestations and exposures are high, we will continue wear masks and assist in public mitigation.”

NAFCS is not canceling any scheduled events, and all instruction and extracurricular activities will continue as planned, he said.

Masks had been optional for students and vaccinated adults inside NAFCS schools as of Oct. 21, though federal masking mandate on school buses remained in place. Unvaccinated students had been encouraged to wear face coverings at that time.

While masks are coming back on in NAFCS, Oldham County Schools eased its requirement on indoor masking this week.

Face coverings are optional but recommended for all students, staff and visitors inside OCS schools, as of Monday. A similar policy had been in effect at the district’s high schools since Nov. 11, and masks are still required on buses under the federal mandate.

Lori Webb, communications director for OCS, said the Oldham County Board of Education approved the change during a Nov. 8 meeting. The board also revised the district’s COVID-19 mitigation strategy at a Nov. 22 meeting, she said.

“This strategy allows our COVID committee to continue to analyze the data within individual schools on a daily basis and may implement masking school-wide for up to 2 weeks,” OCS said in a message to families after the board's vote. “These decisions on individual schools would be based on the number of positive cases in a school, family connection of positive cases, school exposure of positive cases, large events, and suspected school transmission.”

The OCS COVID-19 committee reviews daily and weekly trends to guide recommendations on the district’s masking policy, such as the average testing positivity rate across Kentucky, Oldham County’s incidence rate, five-day averages of school cases, the vaccination rate of those 12 and older, and the percentage of regional ICU capacity in use, according to Webb.

“We give a COVID update presentation to our board every two weeks, and if there is a recommendation for a change to the policy, the board would then vote on it,” OCS said in its message to families.

Oldham County’s COVID-19 incidence rate as of Monday was 31.4 cases per 100,000 residents, putting it in Kentucky’s “red” category for community spread. “Red” counties are those with incidence rates of more than 25 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.

In Oldham County’s region, which includes Jefferson County, ICUs were at nearly 84% capacity as of Monday. COVID-19 patients make up nearly 20% of ICU capacities in the region, according to state data.

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