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VOL. 45 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 6, 2021

Williamson County school board approves mask mandate

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FRANKLIN (AP) — School officials in an affluent Tennessee county south of Nashville have voted to implement a temporary mask mandate for elementary school students, staff and visitors.

Local news outlets report that the school board in Williamson County made the decision Tuesday evening after a nearly four-hour meeting that saw frequent disruptions from attendees opposed to mask mandates. One person was escorted from the room by deputies, and dozens of other parents opposed to mask mandates also walked out in support.

WTVF-TV reported that 30 people were allowed to testify before the board cast their votes, which ranged from medical experts who pleaded that the mask mandate would help protect kids from the coronavirus outbreak. Others threatened that board's decision would have consequences.

"If you own a business, we will boycott your business...in the past, you dealt with sheep now prepare yourself to deal with lions," said Daniel Jordan.

Tennessee students are retuning to school amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, particularly among the unvaccinated. Currently, children under the age of 12 do not qualify for the vaccine. Only a small handful of schools have elected to adopt a mask mandate as Tennessee's vaccination rates remain among the lowest in the country. Those district include Shelby County, which encompasses Memphis, and Nashville.

Gov. Bill Lee has resisted implementing a statewide mask mandate for schools, instead choosing to leave the decision to local officials.

Only a small handful of schools have elected to adopt a mask mandate as Tennessee's vaccination rates remain among the lowest in the country. Those district include Shelby County, which encompasses Memphis, and Nashville.

Williamson County's school mask mandate expires Sept. 21. At that time, board members will reassess and decide whether or not to extend the requirement.

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