NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Metro Nashville Board of Education has adopted a universal mask policy for the start of the new school year.

The motion, adopted on a vote of 8-1, regarding mask requirements for MNPS students and staff for the start of the 2021-22 school year can be read below:

“Consistent with Mayor Cooper’s Executive Order 21, I move that MNPS adopt a universal mask policy, and that all persons indoors and on MNPS buses be required to wear a cloth face covering or mask, effective Friday, August 6, 2021. The Director of Schools is given discretion to design and implement alternatives to this directive, in order to appropriately meet the needs of MNPS students, employees, or members of the public, while providing reasonable access to educational services and government facilities and services. The board will reassess this mask requirement, under our given authority and with guidance from the Health Department, when all Metro Government-issued mask requirements end.”

On Wednesday, Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of MNPS, issued a statement recommending a mask requirement for schools. The statement was released a few hours after Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced face coverings will once again be required inside Metro Government buildings.

The motion was made by Vice-Chair Rachael Anne Elrod and by the Board adopted at a specially-called meeting held on Thursday, August 5.

During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Tennessee’s House Speaker Cameron Sexton threatened school districts with potential legislative force if they choose to issue a mask mandate or close schools due to the pandemic.

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“We want parents making the decision on whether to wear masks in schools,” said Sexton. “So, I sure hope school systems do not require a mask mandate for these students and if they do, I’m going to ask the governor for a special session.”