Collierville school board votes against mask requirement after holiday weekend

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 4:52 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 3, 2022 at 6:33 AM CST
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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - Students and teachers across Shelby County are returning to school this week amid a surge in COVID-19 cases. Districts are determining how to move forward with COVID-19 policies.

It wasn’t a unanimous decision. Sunday evening the Collierville school board held a meeting to discuss implementing a possible mask mandate.

Board members were split on whether or not to require masks despite a staffing shortage due to the rising COVID-19 cases.

Superintendent Gary Lilly says 42 staff members have tested positive and 47 have been exposed to COVID-19.

He says all 10 schools are impacted and the district only has 60 substitute teachers.

When it came time to vote at least four board members opposed a temporary mask mandate in Collierville schools.

However, some still wanted to recommend masking. Board member Paul Childers says he feels the number of positive staff members doesn’t warrant a mask mandate. He prefers allowing parents to make the decision for their kids which he plans to do for his own child.

Lilly is concerned that without adequate mitigation efforts, the schools may be forced to close due to a lack of staffing.

While Collierville will not currently require masks, other districts in Shelby County do plan to as students return from the holiday break.

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