Wilson County Schools will be enforcing a temporary mask mandate for students, staff and visitors starting Friday. The district will also begin to follow the state health department’s quarantine guidelines, specifically to send unvaccinated students home if they were exposed to COVID, even if they show no symptoms.
“I can’t sit and be quiet no longer,” superintendent Jeff Luttrell said at a school board meeting on Wednesday. “We got some problems and we need to take stronger measures in our schools.”
The new protocol comes after the district went under a weeklong closure due to a high number of cases. The school board voted unanimously in favor of both health measures despite disagreeing on these issues in weeks prior.
“I don’t love it, but I think we asked both sides for a compromise and I think that this is a compromise,” school board member Jamie Farough said.
Board members against masks voted in favor for it, in part because the district will re-assess the need for face coverings by Oct. 4. That is also when Gov. Bill Lee plans to re-examine his mask-related executive order that allows parents to opt out of their local district’s face covering policy.
Luttrell said last week’s closure was effective but not a sustainable solution to stop the spread of COVID. So far this week, student and staff attendance rates went up and nearly all bus routes were restored. But Luttrell cautioned that the closure cost five of the district’s 13 stockpile days.
“I can’t afford to do that again,” he said.