MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Several Shelby County school districts say they will be updating their mask mandates after the health department issued a new health directive this week.
Shelby County Schools said they will be keeping their mask requirement for now.
Arlington Community Schools said masks would become optional starting Monday, May 17. Those involved in sports or other events this Saturday will be able to decide whether they wear them or not.
Bartlett City Schools said they will still require students and staff to wear masks for the rest of the school year.
“Our plan is to complete the year with the current procedures reflected in our back to school reopening plan,” Bartlett City Schools said Thursday. “Many families made their decision for this school year based on these procedures. We feel it would be difficult to enact these changes with just a few days of school remaining.”
Collierville schools announced Wednesday that masks will be optional. Mario Hogue, with Collierville Schools, says the decision was data driven.
“We are not in the business to police masking. We are in the business to provide students with a life of scholarship, integrity and service and the best educational experience,” Hogue said.
Hogue added that the only thing changing is the mask mandate.
“Contact tracing, social distancing, isolation, quarantine, working with the Shelby County Health department, all of those are still in activation,” Hogue said.
Hogue also said the district is submitting for a federal grant that would allow students and staff the option to be tested for COVID-19 at school.
“So if we get approved going into next school year we will have the testing kits at each school and we will be able to provide those requests,” Hogue said.
Germantown announced Thursday that masks will not be required but are highly recommended in the following circumstances:
- You are not vaccinated and you are in a public setting around people who don’t live in your household, especially when indoors and when it may be difficult for you to stay six feet apart from people who don’t live with you.
- You are not vaccinated and you are around people who don’t live with you, regardless of whether you are inside your home or inside someone else’s home.
- You are not vaccinated and you are inside your home with someone who is sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19.
- You are not vaccinated and engaged in outdoor activities and physical distancing of six feet or more from persons who are not members of your household is not feasible, regardless of crowd size.
Germantown says these recommendations will also apply for its summer programs.
“The decision to wear masks is a personal choice and is an individual responsibility. We encourage our families to discuss their choices with their children and for all students, staff, and parents to be respectful of the decisions of others,” Germantown Municipal School District said Thursday.
The Millington and Lakeland school systems told WREG they will finish out the academic year with their current safety and health protocols. They will then be updated to allow for masks to be optional starting with summer classes.
“Our plan is to complete the year with the current procedures reflected in our back to school reopening plan. Many families made their decision for this school year based on these procedures. We feel it would be difficult to enact these changes with just a few days of school remaining,” the district said.
They will make any updates for the 2021-2022 school year in the near future.