Nashville Public Schools director recommending mask policy for start of school year

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FILE – A student wears a face mask while doing work at his desk at the Post Road Elementary School, in White Plains, N.Y., in this Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, file photo. U.S. health officials say the highly contagious delta version of the coronavirus is behind changes to mask guidelines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week announced that fully vaccinated people should resume wearing masks indoors if they live in areas where the virus is surging. CDC officials said new information about the spread of the delta variant forced them to reverse course. The agency also said teachers and students everywhere should go back to wearing masks in schools. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, FIle)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A few hours after Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced face coverings will once again be required inside Metro Government buildings, the director of Metro Nashville Public Schools issued a statement recommending a mask requirement for schools as well.

Dr. Adrienne Battle, Director of MNPS, has issued the following statement in response to Mayor Cooper’s mask requirements for Metro facilities:

“As a result of the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases and spread of the delta variant, the recommendations from the CDC and AAP, along with the Mayor’s new mask mandate for Metro facilities, it would be my recommendation to the Board that we adopt a universal mask policy, indoors and on buses, for the start of the 2021-22 school year in order to keep our student, staff, and their families as safe as possible.”

The statement goes on to say:

“I wish that more Americans had taken advantage of the life-saving vaccine that has been available to them, so that the pandemic would be less of a factor in the lives of our students and a universal mask mandate would not be necessary. I’m hopeful that more community members will get the vaccine so that we can mitigate the spread of the virus and return to a normal school setting. Metro Schools will continue to do our part to promote vaccination events for our students who are eligible, their families, and our staff, along with the other mitigation protocols that can reduce transmission of the virus.”

Metro’s Board of Education is scheduled to meet on Thursday, August 5 to discuss COVID protocols for the start of the 2021-22 school year.

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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.

“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.”

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This is a developing story. WKRN News 2 will continue to update this article as new information becomes available.

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