On Sunday, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced that masks will remain necessary in the school system until further notice despite Governor Bill Lee signing legislation into law that prohibits schools from implementing mask mandates.

After Governor Lee signed the legislation into law, lawyers representing students with disabilities filed a lawsuit on Friday seeking to block the new law from taking effect because, the court filings argue, it would potentially violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

On Sunday, the United States District Court of Middle Tennessee ruled in an order Sunday that school districts can continue with mask mandates despite Lee’s new legislation banning them. The court order also indicates a status conference will take place on Monday, November 15th at 1 p.m.

In a statement, Director of Schools at MNPS Dr. Adrienne Battle said, “Our strong desire is to get to a point where masks are no longer necessary, and our classroom environment looks like it did back before the start of the pandemic. Unfortunately, there is still COVID transmission throughout our community, and we are still seeing dozens of cases a week of students testing positive for the virus … We would ask for your patience and understanding of the school staff tasked with enforcing these mask requirements until these legal issues can be resolved.”

The Franklin Special School District also announced Sunday it would maintain its mask requirement, writing in a Twitter thread, “The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee has taken action over the weekend, ordering the FSSD to maintain its mask requirement for students, employees, and visitors. A hearing is scheduled for Monday but, until then, masks must remain in place. Mask exemptions in place as of Nov. 11 will continue to be honored. We apologize for the change in expectations but are legally bound by the court to follow the order.”

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Masked in Class” by Polk County Schools.