The White County School System has removed its mask mandate for the remainder of the school year.
One member of the board of education voted to keep the mandate Thursday night, with one member abstaining. Board Chairman Jayson McDonald said his vote to make masks optional was based on public sentiment.
“I had several calls from my constituents, just expressing the option to be able to choose whether they wanted to wear it or not,” McDonald said. “Lots of support for being able to choose that, not to just make somebody do it.”
McDonald said the door is not closed on a mask mandate being revisited if the pandemic gets out of hand before school returns in the fall.
Director of Schools Kurt Dronebarger’s recommendation to the board was to keep masks mandated for the final six days. Dronebarger said that no principals or the teacher advisory board said they would like to see masks removed.
“I have a statement from our doctor that supports us staying in masks,” Dronebarger said. “I do think it’s going to create some other problems for us, but I want to do what the board wishes and we’ll deal with the fallout.”
Before the vote, Dronebager said one of the issues with making masks optional is that children under the age of 12 cannot be vaccinated for COVID.
Six school days remain for the White County School System.