No mask mandate for Collierville Schools students, board says

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. — The Collierville Schools Board of Education held a board meeting Sunday night to discuss COVID-19 plans as students return to classes on Jan. 4 amid the increased spread of the omicron variant.

A letter sent to Collierville Schools’ families said, “while it is not a requirement, we strongly encourage all students to wear a mask. Additionally, all employees AND adult visitors are required to wear masks in all Collierville Schools buildings during regular school hours.”

The school board said its main goal was to minimize the effects of the omicron variant during school operations.

During Sunday’s meeting, Superintendent Gary Lilly told attendees how the virus had impacted staff.

Forty-two employees have tested positive, and 47 additional employees have been exposed.

All ten schools are affected.

The district has only 60 available substitutes.

No mask mandate was made for students because the board did not back the idea.

The district adjusted its close contact and quarantine guidelines to align with the most recent Tennessee Department of Health directives:

  • Identifiable close contacts will receive a letter via ParentSquare to notify them that they have potentially been exposed to a COVID-positive person.
  • Close contacts will be required to isolate at home for a minimum of 5 days if they are unvaccinated or have not received a booster and were vaccinated more than 6 months prior to their exposure.
  • Students who are isolating due to a COVID-positive result OR who have been identified as close contacts to a COVID-positive person may distance learn for the duration of their isolation period.

The district shared its COVID mitigation plans:

  • Masks are strongly encouraged for all students; however, they are not required.
  • Masks ARE REQUIRED for all employees and adult visitors.
  • Social distancing will continue with a minimum of three feet of separation between students in their classrooms, to the extent possible.
  • Frequent hand washing and good respiratory etiquette will be routinely emphasized.
  • Disinfecting of physical spaces will occur throughout the school day.
  • The district will continue contact tracing in collaboration with the Shelby County Health Department.
  • Anyone presenting with symptoms of illness should stay home and consult with their medical provider.
  • The COVID-19 dashboard will be updated throughout the week, dependent upon new positive cases.
  • Active and total cases are reported on our Collierville Schools COVID-19 Dashboard.
  • Positive cases are required to follow the TN Dept. of Health Guidelines and isolate at home for a minimum 5 days.
  • Distance learning is available for all COVID-positive students and those students required to isolate at home after a close contact with a COVID-positive person.

The district offers free voluntary COVID testing for students and employees.