Tennessee school districts to require masks despite Gov. Lee’s executive order

The school systems will still require masks even though Gov. Lee says parents can opt children out.
Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 9:47 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 11:33 PM EDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Metro Nashville Public Schools and Shelby County schools will continue to require masks in the classroom despite Gov. Bill Lee’s new executive order, which allows families to opt children out of mask mandates.

Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle released a statement following Gov. Lee’s announcement, saying that allowing families to opt out of mask mandates make them ineffective:

“The Metro Nashville Board of Education and I are charged with educating our students and with keeping them safe. Universal masking policies, during the pandemic, are a key mitigation strategy to do just that. To allow anyone to opt out of these policies for any reason, other than legitimate medical need, would make them ineffective and would require more students to be quarantined and kept out of the classroom.

“The Governor’s executive order was released without prior notice to school districts for review or comment. As such, Metro Schools will continue to require face masks, pursuant to the rules adopted by the Board, as we further review this order and explore all options available to the district to best protect the health of our students, teachers, and staff.”

Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of Metro Nashville Public Schools

Shelby County Board of Education members are reviewing the legality of the order, Superintendent of Shelby County schools Dr. Joris Ray said on Twitter. As it stands, Shelby County’s mandate is still in place, he said.

Under the COVID-19 policies, students, teachers, staff and visitors are required to wear masks while inside school buildings.

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