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Russellville City Schools institutes mask mandate

The Russellville City Schools Board of Education held an emergency meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 to announce a mask mandate for the schools.

“I didn’t want to be in this position this year,” said Superintendent Heath Grimes, “and anyone that knows me knows I probably hate wearing a mask more than anybody. I don’t like masks, and I know our students don’t like them, but in the past week and half, our numbers have continued to grow in this area. The Times Daily shows Franklin County as having the highest number of new COVID patients per 100,000 in the Shoals area, and I just think we can’t have school if we aren’t going to wear masks.”

Grimes pointed out kindergarten through fifth-grade students have no line of protection other than wearing masks and being conscientious about cleanliness, as they are not yet old enough to be vaccinated.

“The number of contacts our students would have with others, along with the growing number of COVID cases in Franklin County, means that the risk of going without masks would be so high that our school season would be ineffective,” said Grimes.

“With that in mind, the difficult decision has been made to recommend a dress code addendum, which requires masks to be worn at all times while indoors. This includes all faculty, staff and students in the Russellville City School System.

“This mask mandate is in effective until further notice.”

The Board unanimously passed the mask mandate.