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Meeting to discuss masks in Knox County Schools ends abruptly

Knox County Schools Board of Education members did not update the mask policy after trying to hold a special called meeting on Friday morning.
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 5:03 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 9:25 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knox County Schools Board of Education members did not update the mask policy after trying to hold a special called meeting on Friday morning.

It was announced 48 hours in advance for them to meet in the City County building at 10:00 a.m.. Eight of the nine board members were there. The ninth was set to be there, but had a last minute conflict.

When it was time for the board to vote on discussing the agenda the vote was tied 4-4. The even number of board members and tie resulted in no further discussion of the matter.

However, the board spent about 20 minutes expressing their thoughts on the subject in hopes it would sway others’ vote to either have the meeting or not. They did not discuss.

The topic came up after the Governor asked counties a few days ago to lift their mask mandates by the end of May and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs lifted the county mandate.

At the end of the meeting some parents became angry with Superintendent Bob Thomas and the board members and began yelling at them. They claim they want the mandate to end so their children can return to normalcy.

“I was very disappointed, I feel like we elected them to do this. And it was very disappointing. I was very, I was very upset because now I have to make a choice,” said Rebekah Reeves, a parent to two Knox County Schools students.

Some people were in favor of keeping the masks in place for the school year citing the CDC guidelines and the fact that not everyone’s been vaccinated.

“I was happy to see how it ended because this meeting should not have been called in the first place,” said Jane Skinner, a teacher for Knox County Schools with more than 20 years experience who now substitute teaches, “And had this passed today that they weren’t going to wear masks the rest of the school year I would’ve stopped substituting immediately.”

The mask policy stands. Students, faculty and staff are still required to wear masks in schools.

The Board of Education will meet on Wednesday for its work session where this topic is expected to be discussed once again.

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