Elizabethton City Schools mask mandate has been well received

Published 5:27 pm Friday, August 27, 2021

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During the Elizabethton City School’s regularly scheduled board meeting for the month of August last Thursday evening, one main point that was discussed revolved around the emergence of the Delta variant of Covid-19 and the steps that the school system will take to ensure the safety of students.

After a long discussion on the matter by the board, an agreement was reached to implement a 10 school day mask mandate that parents and faculty have the option to opt out of, starting this past Tuesday, the 24th of August.

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The decision to opt out of the mandate comes from an executive order signed by Bill Lee that gives parents the option to let their child go without a mask in the case of a school system mandate.

Elizabethton City Schools Superintendent Richard VanHuss said that the mask mandate will run through at least Tuesday, September 7th, with the school board reconvening on the Monday before, the 6th of September at 5:30 pm to discuss the next steps to take.

The mandate has been well received, according to VanHuss who said, “We have seen an increase in the amount of students who are wearing masks during school since the decision to implement the mandate.”

“Right now, we are only at about 21 percent of students that have opted out of the mandate. This is great news because that means that a majority of our students are making the decision to mask up.”

Not only has the mask mandate been well received by students and parents, but it has also made an impact. VanHuss spoke on this, saying, “As a result of more students in Elizabethton wearing masks, there have been fewer students throughout the school system that have been identified as close contacts”

VanHuss ending things with a positive outlook, saying, “With students wearing masks, it provides a greater level of protection within our schools. No one knows exactly how much protection it gives students, but being able to keep our kids in school is always a great thing.”

The mask mandate is almost halfway ran its course, so only time will tell how the outcome of this trial run will affect Covid guidelines in Elizabethton City Schools moving forward.