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Parents divided on health practices in Knox County Schools

It’s a difference of opinion for two Knox County Schools parents in a never-ending argument to have kids masked or not when in school and a need for contact tracing or not.
Published: Aug. 17, 2021 at 7:18 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - It’s a difference of opinion for two Knox County Schools parents in a never-ending argument to have kids masked or not when in school and a need for contact tracing or not.

Governor Bill stated on Monday Executive Order 84 allowed parents to make the choice if they want their students to wear masks in schools or not. Parents can opt children out of mask mandates made by schools or health boards.

“It is though, a constant, constant source of anxiety for us,” said Jessica Weckstein, a Knox County Schools mom to three and to a pre-school student.

Derek Cobble, a dad of two in the KCS system said, “For your health decisions that should be a personal decision. Not a mass decision.”

Right now there are 53 COVID-19 patients between the ages of zero and 17 in hospitals across the state.

In addition to masks these parents had different thoughts when it came to contact tracing.

“That’s probably a really big concern for me is not knowing what the case numbers are and where they are,” said Weckstein.

“It doesn’t matter to me personally,” said Cobble.

Spokespeople for Knox County Schools had not responded to our emails when asked if and when COVID numbers will be on the Tennessee Department of Education District Dashboard online. The website stated it is being updated to align with “federal reporting requirements.”

Knox County Schools families are left in the dark when it comes to case numbers right now. The school system shared in June during a board of education work session it wouldn’t be doing contact tracing in schools this year.

The Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended universal masking for all students, teachers, staff and visitors in schools regardless of vaccination statue.

The organization has also requested a meeting with Governor Bill Lee to discuss health practices for children this year.

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