RCS July 21

Superintendent Bill Spurlock (left) and School Board Chairman Jim Estes talk about ideas for mask requirements during a board meeting Tuesday.

Students, staff and visitors at Rutherford County Schools must wear masks in the coming academic year.

The Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday on the matter following a motion from Coy Young and a second by Lisa Moore, both of whom said a teacher survey showed a majority of educators were in favor of masks. There will be accommodations made available for people with special needs such as medical conditions.

Board Chairman Jim Estes said, “From what I’ve seen, kids have been very resilient about wearing them if you explain to them why they should wear them.”

Superintendent Bill Spurlock said it is challenging for a child to wear a mask for eight hours and it would be important to provide social distancing so kids could take a “mask break.”

The board then debated how to address the use of masks on buses, with consideration made as to whether masks would fog up drivers’ eyeglasses. Another point was made that drivers may not need a mask or face shield if students were sitting far enough away. They decided that students will wear masks and drivers must wear a mask or face shield if they cannot be at least 6 feet from students.

The board said it will continue to review the coronavirus situation. There will be a special-called meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., and the board will look at the latest data on the spread of the virus in Rutherford County in case there needs to be any changes to the reopening plan.

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