Members of the Williamson County School (WCS) Board have scheduled a special meeting for Thursday to discuss COVID-19 response strategies related to health and staffing.

According to the WCS website, the board meeting will commence at 6 p.m., Thursday at the Williamson County Administrative Complex at 1320 West Main Street in Franklin.

WCS officials said on their website Wednesday they are implementing several new mitigation strategies due to what they said was an increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

“Some of those strategies include limiting visitors and volunteers in schools to those only with essential business, not allowing visitors at lunch, and limiting assemblies during the school day,” according to the WCS website.

“Indoor events such as open houses and parent nights will transition to virtual events by Wednesday, August 25, and the October 11 parent-teacher conference day will also be held virtually.”

WCS officials said on Tuesday that 94 of their staff members and 485 of their students had COVID-19 and remained in isolation.

WCS Board members decreed earlier this month that elementary school students would have to wear COVID-19 masks whether they — or their parents — liked it or not. The vote was seven to three, and it applied only to elementary school students and staff.

The WCS Board’s decision infuriated Williamson County parents who insist they — and only they — have the right to force a COVID-19 mask upon their children.

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee later issued an executive order that grants parents the right to opt their children out of a school’s COVID-19 mask mandate if a school board or a health board enacts one over a district.

“Districts will make the decisions they believe are best for their schools, but parents are THE authority and will be the ultimate decision-makers for their individual child’s health and well-being,” Lee said.

Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) had requested that Lee convene a special session of the state’s General Assembly to address school districts that impose mask mandates upon students. Lee said he would not call for such a session.

The Atlanta-based Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEE), citing a U.S. Centers for Disease Control study, reported on school mask mandates this week.

“Schools with mask mandates didn’t see statistically significant different rates of COVID transmission from schools with optional policies,” FEE said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.