Knox County Board of Education denies Superintendent power to mandate masks

The Knox County Board of Education discussed who has the authority to mandate masks in schools.
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 5:09 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 11:25 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Knox County Board of Education met Wednesday to discuss who has the authority to mandate masks in schools. Throughout the meeting, public speakers and board members discussed their own opinions on whether or not COVID-19 guidelines should be mandated in schools.

The board decided to vote on a movement that would establish whether or not county school leaders have the authority to mandate COVID-19 guidelines, including mask mandates.

Board member Daniel Thomas said when it comes to Bob Thomas having authority to mandate masks, “I think it’s important for the superintendent to have all the tools at his disposal.”

Currently, the Knox County Board of Education has the authority to implement mask mandates, and that ruling stood Wednesday night.

The Board eventually did not pass the motion, meaning that Superintendent Bob Thomas does not have the authority to implement some COVID-19 guidelines in accordance to the Centers for Disease Control. He does, however, maintain the ability to implement other COVID-19 guidelines like contact tracing and social distancing.

Board member Daniel Watson spoke to WVLT News about the board’s decision, saying it’s not in the interest of the board to have a mandate and he doesn’t expect the conversation to be brought up[ again anytime soon.

Watson said he does not foresee the mask debate being brought up again.

LIVE: Knox County School Board on mask mandates

The Knox County Board of Education is discussing who has the authority to mandate masks in schools.

Posted by WVLT on Wednesday, August 11, 2021

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