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FSSD school board extends mask requirement to Jan. 11

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FSSD school board Robert Blair

Franklin Special School District Board of Education Chair Robert Blair

The Franklin Special School District Board of Education extended its mask requirement for students, staff and visitors in all school buildings into next year during its meeting Monday.

FSSD Director of Schools David Snowden recommended extending the requirement until midnight on Jan. 11, and the board unanimously passed the recommendation.

“The number of positive student cases as well as the number of student exclusions have significantly dropped the previous two weeks,” Snowden said. “We’re confident that all of these mitigation protocols, including the wearing of masks, is helping to lessen the spread of the virus. We don’t have any empirical evidence that states that. We do know and are extremely confident that the use of the masks has kept a lot of students from being excluded due to the fact that, if both the person that’s positive with COVID and the close contact are wearing masks, then you do not have to exclude [the close contact].”

From Sept. 13-17, FSSD recorded 27 total confirmed positive COVID-19 cases within the schools — including both students and staff — and had 94 exclusions. This is down from the previous week’s 49 cases and 165 exclusions and the 107 cases and 311 exclusions from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3.

This downward trend is reflected in Williamson County Schools’ reported COVID-19 numbers as well, and active case numbers in Williamson County as a whole, according to the Tennessee Department of Health, have been trending downwards since Sept. 12. As of Monday, the countywide active case number according to the state was 1,689.

The FSSD board instated the mask requirement this year on Aug. 20, just days after Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order allowing parents to opt their children out of any school mask requirement with a written notice to the school. The executive order is set to expire on Oct. 5.

Multiple board members stated they would like to discuss COVID-19 mitigation during each monthly board meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at Moore Elementary School.

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