Sullivan’s School System Drops Mask Mandate | Tennessee State Securities


BLOUNTVILLE – Mask warrants are no longer in Sullivan County schools and will likely disappear statewide soon.

In anticipation of legislation that the General Assembly approved at a recent special session, the Sullivan County School Board has amended its “Additional Operational Procedures Regarding Staff and Student Health and Welfare. 2021-2022 ”.

In other words: the mandate to mask the school system with an opt-out clause has disappeared. Kingsport City Schools ended its tenure when the city’s school board refused to renew it on October 19.

The Sullivan County Board of Education on Thursday voted 6-0 with a vacant seat due to a resignation to recommend the changes proposed by school principal Evelyn Rafalowski.

“I am very happy that we have lifted the mandate of the mask,” said Mark Ireson, member of the board of directors.

Rafalowski said masks will remain optional and schools will continue to keep masks and hand sanitizer on hand. The water fountains will remain closed but the water bottle filling stations will remain operational.

Sporting events will remain open without a mask requirement, and reports of COVID-19 cases will remain on the school system’s website.

However, students will no longer have to face the same direction in classrooms, and foot traffic should no longer be in the same direction when possible.

Board member Matthew Spivey said he was disappointed with many bills approved by the General Assembly during the special session, which focused on COVID-19.

One would allow, at the discretion of officials of local Republican or Democratic parties, that school board races take place in a partisan fashion.

Partisan school board races prohibited under current Tennessee law, although the Sullivan County Commission is partisan.

“Partisanship has no role in public service” when it comes to education, Spivey said.

Meanwhile, President Randall Jones has expressed concern about upcoming changes in the state’s Basic Education (BEP) funding formula, which has changed little since its inception in the years. 1980.

Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn has scoured the state for comment on the matter.

One of those trips included a meeting Wednesday in Greeneville that few attendees, according to Jones.

“Read carefully and listen to the facts,” Jones said.

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