MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A suburban Shelby County school district announced Saturday it is changing a policy that allowed parents to opt children out of wearing masks in school, a day after a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against an executive order by the governor.
All Collierville Schools students, employees and visitors must wear a mask or face covering when indoors in any district-operated facility, unless specified otherwise, or in cases where there is a documented medical exemption.
Any student who refuses to wear a mask in Collierville schools will be sent home, the district said. More information can be found here.
“As a reminder, universal masking in schools significantly reduces the likelihood that a student will be required to quarantine as a result of classroom contact with an infected individual,” Collierville Schools said on social media.
Masks are required by a Shelby County health order for most people over age 2, regardless of vaccination status, in many public settings.
On Aug. 16, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order that granted parents the ability to opt their children out of local masking requirements in schools.
Shelby County Schools, the largest district in the state and county, continued to mandate masks as the district reviewed its legal options on the governor’s order, but some municipal school districts like Collierville and Germantown had allowed parents the option.
That policy was controversial in those districts, with some parents protesting against mask requirements, and others protesting in favor of them.
A federal judge in Memphis on Friday granted a temporary restraining order against the governor’s order, effective until Sept. 17. The ruling comes after Lee was sued by two Shelby County families who claim the executive order violated the American With Disabilities Act. Shelby County was also named as a defendant in the suit.
Collierville Schools this week reported there were 78 students and seven staff members with active positive cases of COVID.