Knox County Education Board to consider mask mandate at special meeting

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Board of Education has called a special meeting to discuss COVID-19 protocols in schools after nearly 15% of students were reported absent on Thursday, Aug. 26.

The meeting will take place Wednesday, Sept. 1. at 5 p.m.

Among the agenda items are consideration of a universal indoor mask requirement, approving COVID-19 isolation leave for KCS employees, the creation of a school-based COVID-19 dashboard and discussion of possible action regarding COVID-19 contact tracing protocols for the 2021-2022 year.

Click here to view the full agenda of the meeting.

Knox County has reported over 900 cases of COVID-19 among students and staff since the fall semester began on Aug. 9. While the KCS COVID-19 data dashboard does not provide details on cases at specific schools, families now receive notifications from their child’s school principal if there is a confirmed case at their school.

The Knox County Schools board voted not to issue a mask mandate ahead of the school year. Knox County Schools have opted not to conduct their own contact tracing as they did last year, instead of leaving that responsibility to the Knox County Health Department. The switch prompted some groups of parents to crowdsource their own contact tracing data.

After telling parents that Knox County Schools could not offer a virtual learning option this year due to state regulations, KCS Superintendent Bob Thomas sent a letter on Aug. 25 clarifying that isolated or quarantined students will have the opportunity to temporarily receive virtual instruction.

The meeting will be held in the first floor boardroom of the Andrew Johnson Building located at 912 S. Gay Street.

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