Lee Allowing Opting Out of School Mask Mandates
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Executive Order 84 on August 16, to give parents the ability to opt their child out of a local mask mandate enacted by a school or health board.
“We’re facing a significant challenge in our hospitals as a result of the increase in COVID cases. The most important tool we have to fight the pandemic is a vaccine. I encourage Tennesseans who have not been vaccinated to talk to their doctor to consider getting vaccinated and to make an informed decision. I worked with my doctor and received the vaccine and it has been a dependable tool to keep me healthy. The government will not mandate or require anyone to get a vaccine but I encourage you to consider it for yourself. It’s widely available, it’s effective and it’s free. More and more Tennesseans are choosing to be vaccinated, almost 100,000 per week and this is good news for the health of our state.”
Lee turned his focus to the schools.
“Right now, some of the greatest frustration is occurring in our K-12 schools, especially around the issue of mask mandates. While local decision-making is important, individual decision-making by a parent on issues regarding the health and well-being of their child is the most important.”
And then Lee said the parents would have the last word.
“No one cares about the health and well-being of a child more than a parent. I am signing an executive order today that allows parents to opt their children out of a school mask mandate if either a school board or health board enacts one over a district.”
Lee said while a future special session might be called, he is taking a wait and see approach and would let each district decide.
“Districts will make the decision they believe are best for their schools, but parents will have the ultimate decision-making for their individual child’s health and well-being. I will not be calling a special session at this time.”