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Jones County School Board votes to make masks optional

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 4:30 PM CDT
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JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - At the start of the school year, the Jones County School Board and Superintendent Tommy Parker assured the entire district they would revisit their COVID policy. Part of that policy is mandatory masks.

Parker explained in August neither he nor the school board had any intention of making masks mandatory.

“Our positive numbers, the number in our community and in our state were so high. The decision was made only a few days before school started to go with mandatory masks for staff, students and visitors on our campus,” Parker said.

Parker said that choice came with a promise to the entire district: If cases went down, the board would rethink its position.

Monday night, the Jones County School Board voted to make wearing a mask optional.

“This last two weeks we’ve had a dramatic drop in the number of positive cases that we have. We have about 8,700 students, and last week we only had about 30 positive cases in our school district,” Parker said.

The superintendent added masks will stay optional as long as positive COVID cases remain below 3.5% of school enrollment. He said he and the board will keep a close eye on the numbers and if the positive covid cases rise they will go back to the mandatory mask requirement.

Parker said they have already received calls from parents worried that their child can’t wear a mask. Parker said if you feel more comfortable wearing a mask they encourage you to do so.

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