Knox County Schools students will be required to wear masks indoors in a policy formalized by the Board of Education. Those who don’t comply will face consequences. 

Every student must wear a mask indoors unless they are granted an exception or are doing certain activities like eating or when 6-foot distancing is practiced.

Under the policy, if a student refuses to wear a mask, there would be four levels of consequences.

Those consequences will be a verbal warning, second offense verbal warning, quarantine from the general population and parent pick up. Superintendent Bob Thomas said these consequences would be documented like a disciplinary action. He stressed that the science shows masks help stop the spread of the virus.

Employees and visitors are also required to wear masks. 

Board member Evetty Satterfield said she wanted a nonpunitive policy that created a more cohesive mask policy districtwide.

Board member Jennifer Owen said the district has a communication issue where individual schools sent incongruent information as compared to the district reopening plan. This helped make the policy the same across the board. 

Board member Patti Bounds said she thought the policy was “too restrictive” and was the lone vote against the policy.

Board member Virginia Babb said the community would most likely get on board.

“Sometimes you just have to put the rules out there to get people to follow them,” Babb said.