School bus Masters

Nearly one-third of families with children enrolled in Williamson County Schools have sought to opt out of the mask mandate the district implemented in August and is set to expire Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m.

According to numbers released by WCS Friday afternoon, 12,580 students from a total enrollment of 41,541, or 30.3 percent, are not complying with the mandate.

The Williamson County Board of Education had voted 7-3 in a special-called meeting held Aug. 10 to mandate the wearing of masks in all elementary schools in the WCS district. In another special meeting of the board two weeks later, members voted 8-4 to extend the mandate to include middle and high schools. That went into effect Tuesday.

In the meantime, however, Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order that would give parents the option to not comply with the mandate. 

Page High School showed the highest percentage of opt-outs, at nearly half the school’s enrollment. Of the 1,238 students there, 612 (49.4 percent) have chosen to go without a mask.

On the other end of the ratio, only 15 of Renaissance High’s 168 students (8.9 percent) requested an opt-out. Kenrose Elementary was also at the lower level, with 91 of 682 students (13.3 percent) opting out.

Meanwhile, the number of positive cases of coronavirus in WCS has been on a downward trend over the past week. The most recent data, released Friday, showed 350 students and 98 staff with a confirmed positive case, down from 426 students and 105 staff from Tuesday and 544 and 105 from Aug. 27.