NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Monday signed an executive order allowing parents to opt out of school mask mandates for their children.
MNPS Director Dr. Adrienne Battle says the governor's order was released without any prior notice to school districts across the state. She also said allowing anyone to opt out of wearing masks will only result in more students needing to be quarantined in the future.
Dr. Battle says MNPS will continue to require students to wear face coverings. Read her full statement below:
The Metro Nashville Board of Education and I are charged with educating our students and with keeping them safe. Universal masking policies, during the pandemic, are a key mitigation strategy to do just that. To allow anyone to opt out of these policies for any reason, other than legitimate medical need, would make them ineffective and would require more students to be quarantined and kept out of the classroom.
The Governor’s executive order was released without prior notice to school districts for review or comment. As such, Metro Schools will continue to require face masks, pursuant to the rules adopted by the Board, as we further review this order and explore all options available to the district to best protect the health of our students, teachers, and staff.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper's office also released the following statement:
“Today’s decision is disappointing, as it undermines a long-held trust that local governments know what’s best for their communities. We made a critical return to in-person learning, only to lose our best tool for keeping schools open and children safe. With our hospitals already under tremendous stress, we are now on a path to more outbreaks, more quarantines, and greater learning loss.”