KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It’s a heavily debated topic that’s set to be discussed by Knox County Schools leaders this week.
The Board of Education will look at the district’s mask policy at Wednesday’s work session.
“I think that they should maintain a mask policy,” said KCS parent Edna Gibson.
“I believe it should be a choice for parents,” another KCS parent Angie Goethert said.
Parents we talked to are split on the issue. Some want to see a mask requirement remain in place, while others want it to be optional.
“I just don’t see how you could ignore CDC guidelines and do away with a policy that is definitely designed to keep children safe,” Gibson said.
The current board policy does include face coverings. Gibson is hopeful they continue to be a requirement in the 2021-2022 school year.
“My children have been home for a year and I’m hopeful that they can return in the fall because now teachers are being vaccinated, lots of parents are being vaccinated, and the children have learned to wear those masks well. So my hope is that it’s safe enough for me to send my children back, but if there is no mask policy I don’t feel like it is a safe space,” she said.
“If a parent feels like that their child should wear a mask, please, by all means, let them wear a mask. I just think that we need to give those choices back to the parents,” said Goethert.
Goethert said she’s not opposed to mask-wearing in the classroom but doesn’t want to see it mandated.
“To discount where we are at this point in the virus in our community does a disservice to everything that everybody has done to this point,” Goethert said. “I truly believe that majority of the parents in Knox County want to make good decisions for their kids, and for the teachers and for the staff.”
In a letter to board members, the superintendent wrote that he recommends continuing to follow CDC as well as local and state health department guidelines.
Again, this is just up for discussion this week. The board is scheduled to take action next week, on April 14th.