NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – For the third straight week, COVID-19 hospitalization numbers continue to rise in Tennessee. This comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci says the CDC is considering revising mask guidance for fully vaccinated people.
Across the country, high transmission rates are seen in states with lower numbers of fully vaccinated residents which is true for Tennessee, the CDC says.
It’s a predicament for health officials across the country as the CDC reconsiders altering mask mandate guidelines, even for vaccinated people.
Parents in Metro Nashville Public Schools are taking note.
“We’re absolutely concerned about the transmission in the community,” said parent Daniel Stafford.
Stafford and Fanny Sung Whelan support this petition on Change.org, calling for a mask mandate to be reinstated for the upcoming school year in Metro Schools. It’s already gained more than 1,500 signatures.
“No matter which stance you take on masking, we all want schools to stay open,” explainedWhelan.
They say this movement isn’t meant to infringe on people’s rights, rather meant to keep kids healthy and in school.
“Metro has not made provisions for virtual schools in this school year. If there are outbreaks, that is going to shut down classrooms. That is going to force kids to quarantine,” Stafford said. “And that’s really going to be a problem for a lot of people.”
The Director of Metro Schools addressed growing COVID concerns at an appearance today.
“Currently, we don’t have a requirement to show proof of vaccination for COVID-19,” Dr. Adrienne Battle said. “Masks will continue to be highly encouraged and recommended in most of our schools.”
News 2 reached out to the school district to see at what point reinstating a mask mandate would be considered. A spokesperson responded saying in part, “If we see the need to move to a mask requirement, we may very well do so if the data indicates it is necessary.”
In the meantime, Whelan says, “Without the younger kids vaccinated, without metrics to determine the percentage of teachers or staff that are vaccinated in our schools, the next best step in protection is to mask.”
And the burden, she feels, shouldn’t be placed on the children.
“Rules are rules. They follow rules. They don’t follow recommendations,” Whelan said.
It’s a message Council Member Steve Glover can get behind.
“If that is what the parents want, then I will be fully supportive of them. I have to agree with them; keeping the children in school should be the ultimate goal,” he said.