BREAKING: Masks Required in Shelby County Schools

by | Aug 6, 2021 | Coronavirus, Memphis | 0 comments

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Read the full press release below:

“Shelby County and most of Tennessee are experiencing high rates of community transmission of COVID-19. In large part, this is due to the low percentage of vaccinated people in the County and the State. The CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for July 30, 2021 provides an example of how the Delta variant is highly transmissible. During July, multiple summer events and large public gatherings in the town of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, resulted in an increased number of COVID-19 cases, from zero cases per 100,000 persons per day on July 3rd to 177 cases per 100,000 persons by July 17th. In order to respond to the highly contagious Delta variant, the CDC recommends that all persons, including those who are fully vaccinated, wear masks in indoor public settings in areas such as Shelby County where COVID-19 transmission is high. Vaccination is the most important strategy to prevent severe illness and death.

The CDC also recommends ‘universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.’ Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time. We also know that, based on the latest science and research, children can have severe outcomes if they contract the Delta-variant virus. The CDC’s guidance emphasizes implementing layered prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together consistently) to protect as many people as possible. These national recommendations must be understood in light of our local data and trend.

Right now, Shelby County is experiencing a surge in cases and a high level of transmission. Most troubling of all is the local data in Shelby County on pediatric cases, which has been released over the last week to ten days, reflecting that children are now experiencing higher rates of severe outcomes if they contract the Delta variant of the virus. Because of this recent local data and trends, the Shelby County Health Department is amending the Health Directive to add an extra of layer protection for children—many of whom are not eligible for vaccination—and their families. Therefore, we are requiring all K-12 schools to require universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to the schools, regardless of vaccination status. These amendments, like the rest of the Directive will expire on August 31, 2021, but may be renewed, depending on levels of vaccination rates (such as whether the County has attained a vaccination rate of 70%), hospital capacity, and/or cases per 100,0000 residents.

This document includes updated recommendations on vaccinations, testing, and mask wearing. We implore everyone to get vaccinated if they are eligible, to get tested regularly, especially if you are not vaccinated, and to wear masks as recommended below.”




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