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Schools lift mask mandate in June
Girls in library - Casey Humphrey, L, Victoria Armstrong.jpg
Hickory Creek students Casey Humphrey, left, and Victoria Armstrong select books from the school library while wearing their facemasks. On Thursday, the School Board lifted its mask mandate for June.

Students have a reason to smile as the mask mandate has been lifted for the month of June in all Warren County schools. 

Director of Schools Grant Swallows recommended to the School Board on Thursday to temporarily lift its mask mandate that was put in place in July 2020. 

The mandate was lifted just for the month of June. 

“Based on some of the recommendations from the CDC, certainly for folks who are vaccinated, is they should be able to go without masks at indoor and outdoor events,” Swallows said. “I believe the board should consider, we’ve discussed this before, amending that policy to a voluntary status. I think now could be the time to do that.”

Swallows said masks would be optional for students and teachers in the acceleration academy program this summer. “We’re going to have much less amount of traffic in our buildings for the acceleration academy,” he said.

Though the mandate would be lifted for now, it would be reinstated in July. Swallows recommended the School Board revisit the policy at its June or July meeting to further discuss the mandate for the 2021-22 school year.

School Board member James Bennett said, “If our numbers are still low at that particular time, we would probably, by the director’s recommendation, maybe, hopefully, start the school year with no masks.”

School Board members Tommy Culwell and Sue Anderson both added to the discussion expressing their support for Swallows’ recommendation. “What you’re adopting is for everyone,” said Swallows. “That would be a district-wide amendment of an optional mask mandate.”

The director did add that students and faculty may choose to wear a mask and said, “I’m pretty sure you all are with me. Anybody that chooses to want to wear that, needs to have the freedom to wear a mask.” 

Students, staff, and visitors of schools during the acceleration academy starting in June will have the option to wear a mask or not. The amendment only exempts the month of June from the mask mandate policy.

The next school year will be further discussed in June or July based on the current COVID numbers.

The School Board voted unanimously to amend the policy, and those in the acceleration academy program will now have the option not to wear a mask.