School Board members voted 4-2 in an emergency meeting on Tuesday, August 31, 2021, to make masks mandatory in Alexander County Schools buildings starting Wednesday, September 1. Board members David Odom, Matt Cooksey, Scott Bowman, and Chairman Harry Schrum voted in favor, while members Brigette Rhyne and Marty Loudermilt voted against. Member Ramie Robinson was unable to attend due to illness.
The decision came after a report from school health services indicated 585 students, or 13.2 percent of students, are currently quarantined in the school system. The board will revisit the decision in 30 days, as required by a new state law, Senate Bill 654, and will come up with a policy for the mask decision, which is also a requirement of the new law, as shown below:
SENATE BILL 654 / S.L. 2021-130
PART X. LOCAL FACE COVERING POLICIES
SECTION 10. For the 2021–2022 school year, all public school units shall adopt a policy regarding the use of face coverings by employees and students. The governing body of the public school unit shall vote at least once a month on whether the face covering policy should be modified.