Metro Nashville Public School (MNPS) Board members will hold a special meeting later this week to discuss COVID-19 mask requirements, but one board member said Tuesday that it’s a waste of time.

MNPS Board members have scheduled the meeting for 11 a.m. Thursday at the MNPS Central Administration Building on 2601 Bransford Avenue, said District Six Board Member Fran Bush.

“First and foremost we shouldn’t have a meeting. We already had a plan in place, and the plan in place was optional masks — highly recommended but optional,” Bush told The Tennessee Star Tuesday.

“Then we had other protocols that were set in place by the director, and that looked like a good plan.”

MNPS spokesman Sean Braisted, quoting MNPS protocols, said masks are highly encouraged, but optional.

“The school board will meet on Thursday to discuss further,” Braisted said by email Tuesday.

“The guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health to superintendents last week was that this was a local decision and encouraged them to refer to the guidelines from the CDC. It would be helpful for districts to know if that guidance has changed.”

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) said Monday that it’s time for students to put their virtual learning behind and walk back into their classrooms — without a COVID-19 mask mandate. And Sexton also said he and other state legislators have a plan to restrain public school district officials who think otherwise.

Sexton said parents alone should decide whether their children will wear masks in schools.

“I sure hope that school systems do not require a mask mandate for those students. If they do then I will ask the governor for a special session. If they close the schools then I will ask the governor for a special session,” Sexton said.

“And if we hear, which we have been hearing, that school systems are going to segregate students based on who is vaccinated and unvaccinated then I’m going to ask the governor for a special session. The time is of the essence to improve these scores and get the students back in the classroom.”

Bush said Tuesday that she agrees with Sexton “100,000 percent.”

“We should not be sending these kids back in masks,” Bush said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]