Oak Ridge mandates masks for all schools, allows parents to opt out

The Oak Ridge Board of Education voted to mandate masks for all schools at a meeting Monday night.
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 9:19 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Oak Ridge parents received a call late Monday night informing them that the Oak Ridge Board of Education voted in favor of mandating masks in all schools in the district.

The mandate takes effect Tuesday, August 24, for all students and staff, according to the recorded call.

The message referenced an executive order that Governor Bill Lee signed on August 16, which allows parents to opt their children out of school mask mandates.

The message indicated that a parent who wants to opt their child out of wearing a mask must write a letter or email a request to the child’s principal in order to opt out.

“To opt out of having your child wear a mask at school, on a bus or at school functions, please provide your child’s principal a letter or email requesting to opt out of having your child wear a mask,” the message said. “Thank you for all you are doing to help us maintain a safe learning environment for our students and staff.”

Every school in the district has had at least one student with COVID, according to the call.

This is not the first time the district has implemented a mask mandate this year. On August 13, Superintendent of Oak Ridge schools, Dr. Bruce Borchers, implemented a mask mandate for two middle schools, according to an email obtained by WVLT News.

Six days later, a new email was sent to school staff members rescinding that mask mandate.

Robertsville Middle School currently has 25 active cases, the highest in the district.

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