KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Schools has sent the guidelines to the new court-ordered mask mandate to families on Monday afternoon as students are set to have their first day with it in action on Tuesday, 9/27.

In the letter to parents, Superintendent Bob Thomas said, “As students return to school tomorrow, it is our expectation that everyone wears a face covering when indoors at our facilities or riding a school bus or shuttle. At this time, the only exemptions allowed in the federal order are for students with autism or with a tracheotomy.”

The school system will be following the same disciplinary measures as last year:

  • 1st offense: Verbal warning
  • 2nd offense: Verbal warning
  • 3rd offense: Removed from the general population
  • 4th offense: Parent pick-up

Along with these measures, students who refuse to wear a mask will be allowed in the school building, but won’t be in their regular classroom. A parent/guardian is allowed to take their child home for refusing to wear a mask, but it will be counted as an unexcused absence.

Thomas said, “I believe it is more important than ever to have our students in the classroom learning and I am so proud of the work that our students and staff have been doing since school started seven weeks ago. I understand that this federal order will present some challenges, but I am grateful for your cooperation in making sure that we are in compliance and that your child is at school ready to learn.”

He also added that he wants parents to know that the teachers, administration, and staff are not responsible for the mandate, it is the result of a federal judge’s order, “A little kindness and grace to our staff will go a long way in ensuring a good start to the school day.”