Oak Ridge Schools End Mask Mandate With Reference To New State’s COVID-19 Law – Community News

Oak Ridge Schools End Mask Mandate With Reference To New State’s COVID-19 Law

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) — Oak Ridge Schools students no longer need to wear masks. In a letter to school staff and parents, the school system cited the state law signed two weeks ago by Governor Bill Lee that restricts when public schools and corporations can issue such mandates.

“The Oak Ridge Schools have been advised that the legislation referred to is effective immediately and replaces and terminates the authority of the Oak Ridge Board of Education to establish and enforce a mask mandate policy during the pandemic. ”, the letter reads.

“Therefore, with immediate effect, the school system’s mandatory face covering policy is being terminated and no longer enforced. The continued use of voluntary face coverings by all members of the school community is encouraged for the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.”

As of Tuesday, November 23, according to the school system’s website, there are currently seven students and two staff at Oak Ridge Schools with COVID-19. Since the start of the school year, 367 students and 30 staff members have been infected with COVID-19. Robertsville Middle has had the most cases this year, with 96 students and seven employees. Oak Ridge High School has had 83 students and five employees contract COVID.

The school system instituted a mandate for indoor masks in late August after issuing such mandates on a per-school basis. The change came three weeks after Willow Brook Elementary was placed under a mask mandate as cases of the virus rose there.

Lee allowed his executive order imposing a state of emergency in Tennessee to expire on Friday, Nov. 19.