KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A multilocation protest event is planned for Monday morning by concerned Knox County parents, staff and some educators seeking to encourage the school district to implement added safety measures for COVID-19.

Organizers of the “Sick Out” day have encouraged that families wanting to participate can either keep their children at home from school, or by masking up and peacefully protesting during their local schools’ drop-off times around 7 a.m. Monday. There will also be a peaceful march to the special-called board of education meeting Wednesday.

The Knox County Schools Board of Education has called a special meeting for Wednesday, Sept. 1 to discuss COVID-19 protocols in schools. 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.

But on Monday, some parents are participating by keeping their children from attending school while others are choosing to also hold signs as part of the “Sick Out” protest at multiple school locations throughout the district. The event is being called, “Knox County Schools Sick Out for COVID-19 Safety” on social media. Organizers say hundreds of families “have expressed desire to participate.”

The event has been organized by Stop the Spread KnoxvilleKCS PASS (KCS Parent Advocates for School Safety, Inc.) and individual parents.  

“In support of our children, teachers, and community – we the parents of KCS children will keep our kids home on Monday, August 30. We encourage everyone to express their voice to board members and the KCS central office calling for following CDC and AAP provisions for school safety. These include:
1) Mandatory mask policy
2) Advanced cleaning
3) Social distancing where possible
4) Provisions for students and teachers who must stay home due to illness or exposure
5) Transparent contact tracing and reporting at the school level.”

“This is 100% grassroots and you are all invited to participate in these efforts in any way you’d like and are able,” a public social media post about the event states. “If you join the march, please follow safety protocols: Mask, distance as much as possible, do not engage with opposition.”

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