Saturday, November 26, 2022
HomeEducationTennessee Governor Signs EO Allowing Parents To "Opt-Out" Of Mask Mandates

Tennessee Governor Signs EO Allowing Parents To “Opt-Out” Of Mask Mandates

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Gov. Bill Lee signed an executive order Monday that allows parents across the state to “opt-out” of mask mandates imposed by school districts.

“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,” Lee said in a statement.

“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.”

“Gov. Lee’s executive order issued today is good news in affirming a parent’s right to make healthcare decisions for their children. I am hopeful this order can be extended further by curtailing the power of the six independent health departments that can still impose unlimited mandates upon our business community,” Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton said. “I feel confident the immediate need for a special session has been averted in the interim by using executive orders. However, the House still stands ready to act if the call comes.”

Executive Order 84 applies to mask mandates in schools serving grades kindergarten through 12. It states parents have the right to opt their children out of any requirements to wear a mask at school, on a bus, or at school functions by notifying the school or local education agency in writing.

Lee said parents needed to keep students home if they were ill. Health leaders also recommend frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and maintaining social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control has said individuals in areas with high transmission are advised to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, including schools where students not yet old enough for the vaccines may be gathered.

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