Wilson County School Board votes to not require masks in schools

Coronavirus

WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Wilson County Schools decided Thursday to not require students to wear masks when they return to class in the fall.

The board met Thursday evening for more than four hours and decided that wearing masks when going inside a school building will be “strongly encouraged.”

The motion was whether or not to have masks required for students, especially in situations where social distancing isn’t possible, like walking in a hallway and other crowded areas.

Despite calls from students and a petition with 2,000 signatures, the motion failed in a 4 to 2 vote with one member abstaining.

Wilson County will likely make masks mandatory on buses. They also discussed the district’s re-entry plan.

Students were given the option of returning to traditional school or virtual learning. The majority of students and district leaders believe being back in the classroom physically is more beneficial

“And the thing is, when we look at the data that’s out there as far as reopening schools in a traditional fashion or perhaps even a hybrid, the data supports that because no matter whether it’s virtual, it doesn’t replace that in-person model,” explained Director of Schools Dr. Donna Wright.

The teenagers who organized the petition issued a statement, which reads:

We, the Mt. Juliet Teens for Change, are beyond disappointed and dissatisfied with the Wilson County Board of Education’s decision not to require face coverings in public schools. The Board has placed bureaucratic timidity over the health and safety of their students and staff. We believe the Board of Education has abdicated their responsibility to prioritize the needs of the school communities they were elected to serve. We will continue to pursue this issue with the proper authorities until we find one who considers our welfare paramount.

Mt. Juliet Teens for Change

​The board also extended the deadline, giving parents ‪until Sunday, July 19 at noon to decide on a virtual option for their student.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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