KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knox County Schools Board of Education was set to discuss the school district’s mask mandate that it had implemented when schools reopened in August 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the vote, the school board heard comments from those participating in the public forum.
The board had been expected to vote on whether or not to continue requiring masks next school year. The agenda marks the item as approval on the first reading of the KCS policy on face coverings, as amended. It was the main topic of discussion at last week’s meeting.
After a vote tonight, the school system’s current mask policy will now sunset on August 1. After that, they will follow the recommendations of the Superintendent. The board will still have the opportunity to renew the policy on a month-by-month basis.
The meeting was also used as an opportunity to allow parents and members of the community to address the pain they’ve been feeling since Monday’s tragedy at Austin-East Magnet High school.
Parents put together a list of demands that they expect to be fulfilled, including the release of the body camera footage from Monday’s shooting. They asked for full transparency on the investigation and the events leading up to the shooting.
School board members and Superintendent Bob Thomas took time to acknowledge this week’s events.
“My heart goes out to the students, families and employees of Austin-East. No student or school employee should ever have to worry about their day being interrupted by such awful violence,” Thomas said.
Tuesday, KCS announced Austin-East Magnet High School will not hold in person classes again until next Wednesday, April 21.