High rates of COVID-19 spread and related hospitalizations are prompting Jefferson County Public Schools to go back to mandatory masks starting Monday, July 25.

The super-contagious BA.5 variant has pushed Jefferson County into the red on the CDC’s community levels map. Under JCPS’ health protocols, that means masks will be required for everyone entering a district building or school bus for at least one week or as long as the county remains at the highest level.

“Universal masking is required until Jefferson County is no longer in the red (high) level. We will update you on the masking status at the end of each week,” a district email to families on Friday reads.

School is out, but some employees are in the classroom or office, and some students are on campus for summer programs.

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.