JMCSS responds to concerns about masking requirements
JACKSON, Tenn.– With COVID-19 cases increasing, there have been some concerns from health officials about making masks optional for students in the Jackson-Madison County School System.
In a news conference Wednesday, Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department director Kim Tedford revealed that 266 kids who were ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine tested positive and encouraged parents to let their children wear masks in schools.
“We are very concerned about masks being optional. That’s why I started with my report about parents, please send your kids to school masked,” Tedford said.
The school system sent out a news release, explaining their decision to make masks optional.
“We thought it best just to go back to masks optional. We know some cities and school district are fighting this, but these school systems aren’t standing alone,” said Chief of Staff and Public Information Officer Greg Hammond
Hammond says their decision to make masks an option comes from Governor Bill Lee’s executive order allowing parents to opt out of mask mandates in school systems.
“I know when you look a cities like Memphis and Nashville, some of those school districts are deciding to go against the governor’s executive order, and we don’t want to do that. We want to be in line with the rules,” Hammond said.
Hammond said that even though people may have concerns about COVID cases in nearby Memphis and Nashville, he says their situation is not like Jackson and Madison County.
He also says that virtual learning is not an option for students.
“We were able to do that last year in that state of emergency, but that’s no longer an option because the rules have changed and the state board of education changed those rules,” Hammond said.
Hammond says if parents choose to keep their child at home, they may have the option for the JASA Cyber School, which is a year-long online program. However, you will have to get on a waiting list.