East Knox Elementary School

East Knox Local Schools board of education meetings occur at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month in the East Knox Elementary School library.

Editor's Note: This article was updated to include information from the superintendent.

EAST KNOX -- East Knox’s school board voted Thursday to return to the mask optional policy that had been in place when the school year began, effective immediately. 

East Knox is the second district, following Centerburg, to return to an optional mask policy after switching to a mandate. Mount Vernon and Fredericktown have also since announced they will return to mask optional policies, to take effect Oct. 20 and Oct. 19, respectively. 

The 4-1 vote Thursday came nine weeks into the school year. Board member Larry Campbell voted against a return to the mask-optional policy.

The board had said during its September meeting they would reexamine the district mask policy at its October meeting.

There are no established circumstances that would directly result in a future mask policy change or another revisiting of the policy, East Knox superintendent Steve Larcomb wrote in an email to Knox Pages.

"The Board did not indicate any parameters at this time that would lead to further discussion," Larcomb wrote. "However, the Administration will advise the Board as needed if there are further developments that affect District operations." 

East Knox had been the first district in Knox County to mandate masks. East Knox began requiring masks four days into the 2021-22 school year following a spike in student quarantines. 

At the time, 22 students were ordered to quarantine after the district had identified four positive cases among students and staff.  

As of the latest data updated Oct. 14, East Knox recorded seven positive COVID-19 cases this week, six student cases and one staff case. Four student cases were recorded in the junior/senior high school, and two cases were recorded in the elementary school.

East Knox’s COVID-19 dashboard does not include quarantine data.

"Masks are strongly encouraged, but not required for everyone attending events within district owned buildings," Larcomb wrote. 

This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Emma Davis is a 2021 graduate of the University of Richmond, from which she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and leadership studies. Emma reports for Knox Pages and Ashland Source through Report for America.

Emma Davis is a 2021 graduate of the University of Richmond, from which she holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and leadership studies. Emma reports for Knox Pages and Ashland Source through Report for America.