Knox County Health Dept. recommends masks be worn in schools regardless of vaccination status


FILE (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — In East Tennessee, schools are faced with the question of requiring or not requiring masks in their campuses as COVID-19 cases are surging, and vaccination rates remain stagnant. The Knox County Health Department says masks should be worn in schools on the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The latest we’ve heard from Knox County Schools is that a mask won’t be required for students, teachers, or employees despite the CDC recently recommending indoor mask-wearing again in schools.

The Knox Co. Health Dept. released the following statement on masks in schools:

“The Knox County Health Department continues to recommend that guidance from the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics be followed. Per these recommendations, both organizations recommend teachers, staff, students, and visitors wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. “

As of August 3, 39.3% of Tennesseans are fully vaccinated, while 44.8% have received at least one dose. In Knox County, there are 1,240 active COVID-19 cases and 50.70% of all county residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 47.37% have been fully vaccinated.

Hancock County Schools has made the move to require them on school buses and indoors; while Anderson County Schools has left mask-wearing as an option and not a requirement.

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