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The Scoop - School Board talks facemasks
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There were many points made from both sides of the aisle Monday night as School Board members debated what to do about the mask policy for our school system.

What sticks out the most is not the different arguments that were made but the fact I think we’re very fortunate to have a School Board filled with members who care about our students and the greater Warren County community. I’ve known most of our School Board members for years and, regardless of what anyone thinks about our mask policy, they want what’s best for our children.

So what’s the right answer that will please everybody? There is no right answer that will please everybody. The only thing that’s guaranteed is we disagree on facemasks, vaccines, and pretty much everything in between.

However, I believe Director of Schools Grant Swallows was able to find one thing we all agree on. Said Swallows, “I don’t think any of us disagree on the fact we don’t want people to get sick.”

Here are a few points which stick out from Monday’s meeting.

• I like how School Board member Tommy Culwell was willing to compromise and voted to allow students to wear facemasks to avoid 10 days of quarantine. The goal is to keep students healthy and to keep them in school. That doesn’t happen if they’re sitting at home for 10 days because they were close to someone with COVID and they might be sick.

Culwell admitted he’s not a fan of masks, but said he was willing for a little give and take. The new policy allows students who will agree to wear a mask to come to school to avoid quarantine – provided they aren’t showing virus symptoms. That’s a good thing.

• I also like how Dr. Bryan Chastain pointed out that our healthcare workers are exhausted. If you think you’re tired of talking about COVID and masks, think about our doctors and nurses who have been battling a highly infectious disease for some 18 months.

There’s a reason Cookeville Regional Medical Center had a color ad offering a $10,000 sign-on bonus for some positions in our Sunday paper on Aug. 15. Healthcare workers are desperately needed and in short supply.

• Last but not least, I like how it was pointed out that we don’t have an abundance of options to fight a highly contagious virus. We can get vaccinated. We can wear a mask, and we can decide to keep our distance from other people and avoid fun things like rock concerts and football games.

Some people don’t want to do any of those things and it’s showing as virus numbers seem to be especially high in Tennessee and the South in general. If people aren’t willing to make minor sacrifices for the benefit of the community, I guess that leaves us crossing our fingers and waiting for the virus to magically disappear.

I’m a big fan of magic shows and that is one trick I’d definitely like to see, and fast.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.