Oak Ridge Schools to require Face masks

After initially “strongly recommending” masks, students and staff members will now be required to wear face coverings in Oak Ridge Schools when physical distancing is not possible, Superintendent Bruce Borchers said Thursday.

A school re-opening plan published Monday said masks would be strongly recommended, but not required, when students can’t stay six feet apart to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Some parents objected, with myingy said the mask recommendation did not go far enough. Some indicated that they would contact school administrators to ask for mandatory face masks, according to Oak Ridge Today.

On Thursday, Borchers said the change to mandatory masks was made after a review of the “current situation.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in Anderson County, which includes Oak Ridge, has increased significantly this month, even as the sas of Thursday, and the number of active cases has more than doubled in eight days.

On Thursday, Borchers said students and staff members who have a medical reason for not wearing a face covering should contact their schools’ principal. Those issues will be considered on a case-by-case basis, Borchers said.

The school system said a majority of those who responded to a recent survey wanted to return to normal as much as possible with students participating in face-to-face instruction. Respondents also want common areas disinfected, social distancing practiced, temperature checks provided, and non-essential visits reduced.

The survey was conducted before the recent surge in cases in Anderson County. It’s not clear if the acceleration in the growth of new cases in the county might have affected the survey results.

Oak Ridge Schools is currently offering two options for students for the July 29 re-opening, one, the resumption of in-person learning, with contingency plans for remote learning in case of health emergencies, and a full year of virtual online learning.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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