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Some Mid-South schools update mask policies following federal judge’s ruling

FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, file photo, students wearing face masks walk past doors...
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, file photo, students wearing face masks walk past doors marked with COVID-19 related warnings at the Seamans Center during the first day of in-person classes for the fall semester amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City, Iowa. More than 18 months after Iowa’s first coronavirus case, the state finds itself in a protracted argument over the value of wearing masks, especially in schools.(Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP, File)
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 9:32 AM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Mid-South schools are updating their mask policies after a federal judge blocked Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s bill to ban school mask mandates.

With confusion brewing in the area, Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor says schools are still required to wear masks but some districts say otherwise.

Previously, suburban school districts like Germantown, Collierville and Millington said masks would be optional for students Monday, citing the new state law.

Millington Municipal Schools is maintaining its optional mask policy.

On the other hand, Germantown Municipal School District changed its policy and is requiring masks to be worn in schools:

“Over the weekend, we issued a notice to parents stating that a new state law took effect on Friday which prohibited mandatory mask wearing. Over the same weekend, a lawsuit was filed in Nashville requesting that the Federal Judge stop the state law from taking effect.

Sunday, the Federal Judge in Nashville specifically ordered that the parties “maintain the status quo”, as of Thursday, November 11. At today’s status conference, it is our understanding that the Federal Judge specifically stated that because one of the Plaintiffs in the new lawsuit is a student at Germantown Municipal School District, the Germantown Municipal School District must maintain its mask wearing requirement as of Thursday, November 11. Therefore, since masks were required in our school district as of Thursday, November 11, we will follow the Judge’s order and continue requiring masks in our schools until further notice. We ask for your patience while this case is being decided.”

Bartlett City Schools and Collierville School have not announced updated guidance on masking.

It’s still unclear what consequences are in store for districts that do not follow the health department’s order.

We will continue to update this story as we receive information from Shelby County school districts.

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