What happens if a student in Shelby County refuses to wear a mask?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Health Department releases statements regarding the new mask mandate in school.

The SCHD issued Amended Health Order No. 24, which added background information on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for schools in high transmission areas such as Shelby County and requiring:

“all K-12, Pre-K schools, and Daycare facilities to require universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to the schools, regardless of vaccination status.”

RELATED: Masks now required in schools, daycares and preschools, SCHD says

State law says, in part, “The county health officer is empowered to order … rules and regulations as are necessary or appropriate to protect the general health and safety of the county.”

SCHD will work with partner schools and districts to implement the order and will assist schools in doing whatever is necessary to make schools safe for children, especially those that cannot get vaccinated at this time, a release said.


The partnership has existed before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools have worked with the Health Department on:

  • vaccination programs
  • communicable disease protocols such as testing and quarantining
  • food-related safety precautions
  • and much more.

If a student refuses to wear a mask and an exemption does not apply, the student should be sent home, the release said.

Due to the number of children that cannot be vaccinated and will be indoors during school sessions is one of the highest risks of transmission that Shelby County faces, the release said.

According to the release, in order to keep our schools open, children learning, and our economy moving forward, the Health Department implores everyone in school environments to mask-up and the department stands ready to assist any school or daycare facility in making their learning environment safe for children and the adults who work there.

You can view the Amended Health Order No. 24 may be viewed here: www. http://shelbytnhealth.com/healthdirectives.