Rutherford County Schools approves temporary mask mandate

Sep 09, 2021 at 06:02 pm by Michelle Willard

At its meeting held Thursday evening, Sept. 9, the Rutherford County Board of Education approved a 30-day mask requirement with a parental opt-out option. 

Board Vice Chairwoman Sheila Bratton made a motion that will require masks in county schools from Sept. 13-Oct. 14 with a few caveats. The motion passed 5-2 with Tammy Sharp and Lisa Moore dissenting.

"The motion I came up with incorporates many, many ideas ..." Bratton said before reading it aloud. "We all want a way to keep our kids in school, in person learning."

Bratton's motion as approved is: 

I move to approve a temporary mask requirement for students and Rutherford County employees for 30 days beginning Sept. 13, 2021 and running through Oct. 14, 2021, providing parents the option to opt out, subject to the following terms: 

1. The temporary mask requirement shall automatically terminate if the average weekly Rutherford County COVID-19 positivity rate is 10% or lower for three consecutive weeks.

2. If the temporary mask requirement is terminated earlier than 30 days and the COVID-19 positivity rate becomes 15% or higher, then the mask requirement shall be automatically reinstated.

3. If a masked student comes in contact with another individual with COVID-19 then the masked student is not required to quarantine unless the masked student is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. 

4. This temporary mask requirement shall be reviewed again at the board meeting on Oct. 14, 2021.

Under Gov. Lee’s Executive Order 84, parents do have the option to opt-out their students from the requirement. Please note this applies only to students and not employees. Parents will need to complete this form if they wish to opt-out their students (one form submission per student is required).

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