Knox County Cancels School After Anti-Mask Advocates Threaten Disruptive Protests

Classes at public colleges in Knoxville, Tennessee, have been canceled Monday after a bunch of anti-mask advocates threatened to stage disruptive protests at Knox County Schools over a masks mandate.

Video from a gathering of oldsters Sunday afternoon at a Knoxville-area park exhibits individuals applauding after one speaker urges attendees to “bring Knox County Schools to a screeching halt.”

The man encourages these within the viewers to “block the entrance to the school with your car” and to not let faculty buses by means of. He calls this “a moral obligation for our children’s future,” and compares it to civil rights protesters utilizing sit-ins to desegregate lunch counters.

From a public well being perspective, the hostility towards masks necessities is troubling, to say the least. Studies have proven that mask mandates effectively control the unfold of COVID-19 in colleges, and that masks work finest when everyone wears them. That’s particularly essential for youthful kids who’re ineligible for the vaccine.

State Rep. Gloria Johnson (D) shared a section of Sunday’s video on social media. “This is not a group that cares about kids,” she said, highlighting the “really concerning” name to bodily impede entry to colleges. 

After the occasion concluded, its organizer ― who claims to be a subject coordinator for the John Birch society, a far-right political group ― requested attendees to share the bell instances for his or her kids’s colleges on Facebook. Many mother and father complied.

Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas canceled faculty shortly after, notifying mother and father in a message Sunday night that college students needn’t report Monday.

The district didn’t reply to an inquiry from HuffPost in regards to the cause for the abrupt closure, or about whether or not it had something to do with the anti-mask group. Attempts to succeed in the person who known as for blocking faculty entrances with autos have been unsuccessful.

In a message to folks, Thomas mentioned faculty directors and workers would use the time on Monday “to make sure our schools are ready for students on Tuesday.”

Last Friday, a federal decide ordered Knox County Schools to require college students and workers to put on masks, overruling an executive order by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) that allowed mother and father to ignore native masks mandates enacted by faculty or well being boards.

Four households filed suit over Lee’s order, arguing that the governor and the Knox County Board of Education did not make “reasonable accommodations” to guard their kids, who’ve underlying medical situations that predispose them to severe sickness from COVID-19.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer’s preliminary injunction Friday overturned the order, resulting in the varsity district’s coverage change. 

“Beginning Monday, Sept. 27, all our students, employees, and visitors will be required to wear a face covering when indoors at one of our facilities or riding a school bus or shuttle, until further notice,” Thomas, the county superintendent, wrote in a message to families Friday.

“We recognize that this is a sensitive topic and that there are a wide variety of strongly held feelings about COVID-19 mitigation measures,” he wrote. “At the same time, I want to make very clear that we are required to implement this order.”

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