Starting Wednesday, August 11, every student and employee at Riverside High School and Decatur County Middle School will be required to wear masks while they are at school or on the buses. This was a unanimous decision by the director of schools and all nine board members. From July 22 to August 10, 22 students and faculty have tested positive for COVID-19, and 108 have been excluded from school due to household or contact exposures. A few individuals were exposed but did not have to be excluded because they were fully vaccinated. The purpose of the masks is to keep the students in school rather than having to exclude so many students and have them miss out on valuable learning time.
According to the current health department guidelines, if 100% of the people at school are wearing masks, then only the students and faculty who test positive for COVID-19 have to be quarantined; no contact tracing will be required. The goal is to keep the students in school, and masks are a way to make that happen right now. The state of Tennessee has said that schools cannot operate virtually this year, as students who went virtually last year lost too much learning. Masks will allow students to continue to have in-person learning in spite of the current spike in cases of COVID-19.
If any parents have questions about this policy, you may contact the Decatur County Board of Education at 731-852-2391, or you may contact your school board representative.