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How Judge Greer’s new ruling impacts parents of KCS students

Board member Daniel Watson said this new plan offers more exemptions for families.
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 11:31 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -A federal judge responded to an appeal by the Knox County Board of Education. If your child has a doctors note, they will be allowed to not wear a mask in Knox County schools.

Some parents like John Weidekamp were relieved when the initial mask mandate was brought forward. Now he’s hoping that people won’t try to cheat the system.

“I hope they won’t I hope it will be taken seriously but at the same time I know there’s a possibly people could do that,” said Weidekamp.

Others like Julia Whipple, a mother of two Knox County students and the wife of a Knox County principal, said she’s for the changes to the mask mandate.

“Having a little flexibility in the plan while keeping your eye on the ball I think would really help,” said Whipple.

Whipple works in Knox County Schools as a consultant for teachers. She explained how much of an impact the mask debate has had on educators over the past few months.

“They’re so burnt out, they’re so demoralized that they’re wondering how are they going to keep going,” said Whipple.

The main difference between last years mask mandate and the newly changed one is the list the Board of Education will now have to submit. Each month, the BOE will have to submit a list to the courts showing which students are opting out and the specific reasons why.

Board member Daniel Watson said he doesn’t anticipate a big learning curve for this new policy since it’s so close to the one last year.

“I would hope from last year using the same policy we learned a lot. I think for all intensive purposes we were able to implement that process with fidelity last year and I would hope for the same this year,” said Watson.

As for what’s next, Watson doesn’t plan to bring up the mask topic in any meetings due to the pending litigation.

WVLT News reached out to the Knox County Law Department that said they don’t know if they plan on filing an appeal to this response yet. They first want to get more information from Judge Greer.

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