Rutherford County Schools’ temporary mask mandate begins; less than 10% opting out

Posted at 1:57 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 14:57:57-04

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Rutherford County Schools’ temporary mask mandate went into effect Monday morning after the school board voted last week to implement the requirement.

The mask requirement is for all employees, students and visitors at the district’s 50 schools and the central office. The mask mandate will remain in effect for 30 days, from Sept. 13 through Oct. 14, and will be reviewed at the school board meeting.

Because of Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order, parents have the choice to opt out of the mandate.

As of Monday morning, the district said 9.3% of students — 4,554 out of 49,039 total enrollment — had opted-out of the requirement.

“As part of the adopted Board policy, the RCS staff will monitor the COVID-19 positivity rate data in Rutherford County. The current positivity rate in Rutherford County is 20.9 percent, according the Tennessee COVID-19 Dashboard,” the district said in a release.

Rutherford County Schools said the policy also includes metrics to determine when it will be automatically terminated or reactivated:

  • “The policy will automatically terminate if the average weekly positivity rate for Rutherford County reaches 10% or less for three consecutive weeks.”
  • “If the first term is met and the procedure is terminated, but the average weekly positivity rate for Rutherford County reaches 15% or higher, the mask requirement will automatically be reinstated.”
  • “If a student is identified as a contact of a positive case at school, the student contact is exempt from RCS-initiated quarantine if the student is wearing a mask unless the masked student exhibits COVID-19 symptoms.”