GERMANTOWN, Tenn. (WMC) - Germantown Municipal School District notified parents Monday of a change to their back-to-school plan.
The district went from strongly encouraging face masks in the classroom to now requiring them in most cases.
In an email to parents, GMSD says the district updated their plan based on new guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health, Shelby County Health Department and Gov. Bill Lee’s office.
The district says it’s not a huge change from their existing plan, which required masks during arrival, dismissal and times when social distancing was difficult (class transitions, hand-washing or restroom breaks).
GMSD does have exceptions to the new face mask rule:
- Unless a student has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a cloth face covering without assistance, all middle school and high school students should always wear a cloth face covering while in the school building. Middle and high school students may remove their cloth face covering when outdoors so long as social distancing can be maintained.
- Unless a student has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a cloth face covering without assistance or is sleeping, all elementary students should wear a cloth face covering while in the school building.
- Elementary students may remove their cloth face covering when outdoors.
- Students who continuously play with, suck on, or chew their face covering should be excused from wearing one, as should students who will not tolerate a face covering.
- Preschool children under age 2 years should not wear cloth face coverings.
- Individuals should not wear masks while eating or drinking. Lunchtime should be restructured to allow children to eat lunch in their classrooms or outdoor spaces, rather than the cafeteria.
- People who are deaf or hard of hearing—or those who care for or interact with a person who is hearing impaired—may be unable to wear cloth face coverings if they rely on lipreading to communicate. In this situation, consider using a clear face covering. If a clear face covering isn’t available, consider whether you can use written communication, use closed captioning, or decrease background noise to make communication possible while wearing a cloth face covering that blocks your lips.
- Some students, such as those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental health conditions or other sensory sensitivities, may have challenges wearing a cloth face covering. They should consult with their healthcare provider for advice about wearing cloth face coverings.
Principals can waive the mask requirement for educational, safety or health-related reasons, and teachers can give mask breaks when students are social distanced.
GMSD starts the new school year Aug. 17. The district is offering full-time face-to-face instruction, hybrid schedules and an all-virtual plan.