Updated: Mask mandate terminated at Oak Ridge Schools

Bill Lee

 

The face mask mandate at Oak Ridge Schools has been terminated in response to new state legislation signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.

Oak Ridge Schools notified families of the change last week.

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Bill Lee

Note: This story was last updated at 7 a.m. Nov. 16.

The face mask mandate at Oak Ridge Schools has been terminated in response to new state legislation signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.

Bill Lee

 

The face mask mandate at Oak Ridge Schools has been terminated in response to new state legislation signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.

Oak Ridge Schools notified families of the change last week.

The rest of this story is available if you are a member: a subscriber, advertiser, or contributor to Oak Ridge Today.

Already a member? Great! Thank you! Sign in here.

Not a member? No problem! Subscribe here:

Basic

Pro

Temporary

If you prefer to send a check, you may do so by mailing one to:

Oak Ridge Today
P.O. Box 6064
Oak Ridge, TN 37831

We also have advanced subscription options. You can see them here.

We also accept donations. You can donate here. A donation of $50 or more will make you eligible for a subscription.

Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today. We appreciate your support!

Oak Ridge school board approves mask mandate

Oak Ridge school board member Angi Agle, right, proposed a mask mandate inside Oak Ridge school buildings, and her motion was seconded by board member Ben Stephens, left. The school board approved the mandate, which has a written opt-out per an executive order by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, in a 3-1 vote on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021.

Note: This story was last updated at 12 a.m.

The Oak Ridge Board of Education approved a mask mandate in a 3-1 vote on Monday.

The approval of the mask mandate, which is similar to a mandate at four Anderson County schools, occurred as the school system reported about 180 COVID-19 cases among students and staff members in less than three weeks. COVID cases have now been reported at all schools: the preschool, all four elementary schools, both middle schools, the high school, and Secret City Academy.

The mask mandate approved Monday will require masks indoors in school buildings unless the school system has received a written opt-out notice from a parent or guardian in compliance with an executive order issued by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee last week.

The Oak Ridge school year started Wednesday, July 28, with face masks being optional. However, as cases increased significantly in three schools, masks were required there. Those three schools were Jefferson Middle School, Robertsville Middle School, and Willow Brook Elementary School.

But when the governor announced his order last week, Oak Ridge Schools said it would no longer require masks. That changed with the mandate approved by the school board on Monday.

[Read more…]

Some ask for mask requirement in schools but no change yet

The Oak Ridge Board of Education is pictured above on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

A small group of parents and two school board members asked for face masks to be required in Oak Ridge Schools, but no decision was made during a school board meeting Monday evening.

Some students are too young to get vaccinated, the parents and school board members said. Others have only had one COVID-19 vaccination shot and aren’t fully vaccinated. Four days into the new school year, parent Gretchen Toney said her daughter has already been exposed to COVID-19 at Robertsville Middle School and sent home to quarantine, potentially exposing her four-year-old son at home and continuing to prevent a visit by her father, who has cancer.

Parent Laetitia Delmau said her children at RMS and Oak Ridge High School are getting non-stop comments because they wear masks for their own protection, and the schools should be free of harassment and bullying.

Citing reports from their children and their own personal observations, parents said few people are wearing masks in Oak Ridge Schools.

The parents asked the school system to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended on Tuesday that everyone should wear a mask indoors in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. The American Academy of Pediatrics has also recommended universal masking in schools this fall, and on Monday, the University of Tennessee announced it will require masks in many indoor settings this fall semester.

“I really request that we follow the CDC guidelines,” Toney said.

[Read more…]

Masks to continue in ORS through May 28, optional for summer school

Mask use will continue in Oak Ridge Schools through the end of the school year, May 28, but will be optional for summer school.

Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers recommended the change during a special meeting Monday evening. The Oak Ridge Board of Education approved it unanimously.

Masks have been required in Oak Ridge Schools to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Students can take off their masks outside. Visitors will be allowed starting in school in July.

[Read more…]

Fillauer seeks re-election to school board

Keys Fillauer
Keys Fillauer

Keys Fillauer is seeking to be re-elected to the Oak Ridge Board of Education in November.

Fillauer has served on the school board for 19 years, and he has served as chair for the last 11 years, a press release said. He also currently serves as vice president of the Tennessee School Board Association Board of Directors, the press release said.

Fillauer is a retired Oak Ridge teacher and coach. He taught and coached at Robertsville Junior High for 27 years and at Oak Ridge High School for four years. Fillauer has been recognized as a member of the All Tennessee School Board, as a Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and Freedom Foundation Award winner, and he received the Governor’s Outstanding Tennessean Award, the press release said.

Fillauer has also received the Service Above Self award from the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club, the press release said. He is a member of the Oak Ridge Sports Hall of Fame and the Anderson County Hall of Fame.

[Read more…]

Updated: Oak Ridge Schools will have staggered classes at middle schools, high school

Note: This story was updated at 2 p.m. July 24.

Oak Ridge Schools will now have staggered classes for students at its two middle schools and one high school. Those students will now attend classes two days per week and then have online classes the other three days.

Elementary school students will attend classes five days per week.

The new plan was unanimously approved by the Oak Ridge Board of Education during a 45-minute special meeting Thursday afternoon.

The plan had been presented to the school board by Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers.

[Read more…]

School board has special meeting Thursday to discuss re-opening plan

The Oak Ridge Board of Education will have a special meeting this afternoon to discuss the plan to re-open schools next week.

The meeting to discuss schools re-opening is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 23. The school board will meet electronically under an executive order signed by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. The order relates to protecting public health, safety, and welfare in response to COVID-19.

Oak Ridge Schools are scheduled to start July 29 with two options for students and families: 1) attending classes at school with new safety measures and contingency plans, and 2) online instruction through ConnectOR.

[Read more…]

School board has special meeting today

The Oak Ridge Board of Education has a special called board meeting today (Thursday, April 16).

The special meeting will start at 2 p.m.

Agenda items include emergency closings, telework during emergencies, and a proposed draft resolution to suspend policies (this is related to COVID-19).

[Read more…]

COVID-19: Oak Ridge Schools cancel Safety Patrol trip

Note: This story was updated at 5:35 p.m. March 15.

Oak Ridge Schools has cancelaed an elementary school Safety Patrol trip to Washington, D.C., but the Oak Ridge High School winter guard and percussion trip to Suwanee, Georgia, is still scheduled to occur.

Update: The WGI has canceled all future events, and the ORHS Indoor Percussion will not be traveling to Georgia. But they did perform at the Oak Ridge Civic Center on Friday. It’s not clear if the status of the band and orchestra trip mentioned below has changed.

Regarding another trip, the Oak Ridge Board of Education did not vote in a meeting on Wednesday to cancel the ORHS band and orchestra trip to New York City at this time. But school officials plan to keep monitoring conditions in New York City.

The school board was considering the status of the trips because of concerns about COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.

[Read more…]