Rutherford County Schools votes to maintain mask policy for rest of school year

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RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — School board officials in Rutherford County have voted to maintain the county’s existing mask policy to combat COVID-19 for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.

According to the school district’s Facebook page, the board voted 5 to 2 to keep the policy in place. The vote comes after a heated exchange between parents and the school board, with some school board members siding with the parents that they should have the right to choose if masks are right for their children.

A group of about 30 parents recently created a survey and out of more than a thousand parents, they say most wanted the choice of sending their kids to school in a mask or not.

However, the school district has had at least three staff members pass away during the pandemic.

Rutherford County Schools conducted their own survey recently, asking 5,700 school employees if they were in favor of masks. Of the 4,300 that responded, 60 percent said yes.

But the Rutherford Education Association’s survey found a much higher number.

“Our most recent survey with the Rutherford Education Association indicated that 83 percent of educators would like to see that mask policy remain in place,” said Laura Schlesinger, President of REA, “And going back to the beginning of the school year, that was the number one determining factor in educators feeling safe enough to return to their respective school buildings.”Third COVID-19 related death in Rutherford County Schools sparks concern 

Board Chair Coy Young also previously pointed out that while student COVID-19 cases have gone down about 50 percent every month, teachers are the ones keeping schools open.

“Yes, the parents do have the say-so for their children, but if we don’t have the teachers in the classroom, guess what? They’re not gonna get taught,” Young said.

The move also comes after the CDC announced that students no longer need to be six feet apart, instead they now say three feet is sufficient.

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