Kentucky Superintendent Sends Parents Voicemails about 'Lunatic' Gov. Andy Beshear After School Mask Mandate

"The governor made me look like a liar," Science Hill School District superintendent Jimmy Dyehouse said.

Aug 12, 2021 at 10:49 am
click to enlarge A Science Hill School District superintendent shared some thoughts about Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear with parents. - Photo: Freestocks, Unsplash
Photo: Freestocks, Unsplash
A Science Hill School District superintendent shared some thoughts about Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear with parents.

Is Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear a "liberal lunatic" for requiring schools to mask up as COVID-19 cases mount within the state?

One school district superintendent thinks so.

WKYT-TV in Lexington reports that Jimmy Dyehouse, superintendent for the Science Hill School District in the southern portion of the state, left a colorful voicemail for parents Tuesday with his thoughts about Beshear mandating masks in all schools.

CityBeat cannot do the voicemail justice with a mere summary, so here is Dyehouse in his own words, according to WKYT:

"As you already know and probably have already heard, this liberal lunatic that we have up in Frankfort has signed another executive order mandating masks for all students and adults in school. What this means is the professional opinion of your superintendent doesn’t matter. The opinion of your school board doesn’t matter. And you as parents, your opinion doesn’t matter because I know exactly how you all feel about your children wearing masks. And believe me, I’m as frustrated as you are over this. Starting in the morning, all students will have to wear masks on the bus and inside the building, as well as adults inside of our buildings will have to be masked tomorrow. We’re hoping this will be fought in court this week and we’ll get this overturned. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear something further. I’m sorry. Thank you."

Dyehouse reportedly sent the voicemail on Aug. 10, the evening before the district returned to classes and the same day that Beshear signed the executive order about masks.

Dyehouse told WKYT that his district, which is about 160 miles south of Cincinnati, already had been making mask-optional plans, despite COVID-19 cases throughout Kentucky rising sharply since June and overwhelming many healthcare facilities.

"It stirred up a bit of a fuss I guess, but that’s why I did it. To get someone’s attention," Dyehouse told WKYT. "I think my frustration, the governor made me look like a liar. It made me look like a liar."

The superintendent isn't the only one upset by Beshear's mission to slow the spread of the deadly Delta variant of the coronavirus. WFIE-TV in Henderson reports that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has asked the state's Supreme Court to stop Beshear's mask mandate within schools. Cameron filed on Wednesday, the day after Beshear's announcement.

"This is simply the fact that he ignored the rules and the laws that were passed by our general assembly," Cameron said.

Cameron also asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to intervene in 2020 when Beshear suspended in-person classes throughout the state as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rose.

The court will not take up the issue until at least the end of the month.

Beshear announced the school masking policy this week, and it applies to indoor areas within all educational settings from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

Beshear said during an Aug. 10 briefing that with the recent exponential growth in statewide COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions, Kentucky health officials expect the Commonwealth to reach a somber turning point soon.

"Without intervention, at the rate we are currently at, we expect to have the most Kentuckians hospitalized due to COVID in two weeks than we have had at any time during this pandemic," Beshear said.

Kentucky's COVID-19 positivity rate has risen to 11.05%, the highest the state has seen since January (the positivity rate is the number of people who test positive out of all coronavirus tests performed). It was 9.77% on Aug. 2 and 1.79% in June.

Due to this summer's COVID-19 surge — largely driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant — Kentucky overwhelmingly is considered a high-risk state by local and national health officials, with 119 of 120 counties being labeled as "substantial risk" or "high risk" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (The CDC lists all counties surrounding Cincinnati both in Ohio and Kentucky as being "high" or "substantial" risk). Beshear said that on Monday, there were 2,500 new COVID-19 cases, 1,251 hospitalizations, 339 ICU admissions and 168 people on ventilators. The numbers have been rising and compounding since June.

Dr. Scottie B. Day, physician-in-chief at UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Children's Hospital in Lexington, said Tuesday that though children hadn't been hospitalized in large numbers with the original strain of COVID-19, things are different now. He said that pediatric hospitalizations have increased week over week and pediatric COVID-19 deaths are twice the number of pediatric flu deaths reported by the CDC between 2019 and 2020.

"Kids, we think of as being healthier, (but) kids are not immortal, and it should be rare that a child should need to go to the hospital. So the fact that we've had a few hundred die is too many, way too many," Day said. "As the adult surges rise, the children's surges rise."

Health officials have long said that a combination of vaccinations and masking will help slow the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus. In July, the CDC recommended that both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals wear face masks, especially indoors and in regions of great virus transmission or low vaccination. But as vaccinations have plateaued and Ohio and Kentucky rescinded their coronavirus safety protocols in early June, the region's COVID-19 cases have increased.

Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.