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Opinion | If Shelby County Schools believes masks are the way to go, so be it | Otis Sanford

Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on Shelby County Schools requiring masks upon the return to classes.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — With the start of classes in Shelby County Schools just over two weeks away, district leaders are doing everything they can to make this a normal school year. Field trips, athletic events, and playground activities will return. But so will masks.

The district’s COVID-19 guidelines for the coming year includes a mandate that all students, teachers and staff wear mask at all times while indoors. The reason? The rapidly spreading Delta variant. It is much more contagious and more likely to cause illness.

So SCS is being prudent by following recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that everyone in a school setting should keep wearing masks. There are exceptions for medical or developmental conditions.

The decision stands in contrast to DeSoto County Schools which will not require masks in any of its school buildings this upcoming year. What do DeSoto school leaders know that SCS leaders don’t? My guess is nothing. There is simply a different attitude about the virus across the state line in Mississippi. And hopefully it does not result in unnecessary COVID cases.

Everyone wants this school year to be as normal as possible. There has been enough disruption in local education the past year and a half to last a lifetime. But this virus does not care about feelings or protocol. And if Shelby County Schools believes masks are the way to go, so be it. And that’s my point of view.