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A group of parents and protesters photograph, record and livestream a vote on mask mandates for Williamson County elementary schools during the Aug. 10 special-called meeting of the school board.

  

The Williamson County Board of Education will have a special-called meeting Thursday, its second such meeting this month to address concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the night’s agenda, board members will discuss and possibly vote on items dealing with COVID response strategies, particularly on health and staffing. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and be held in the auditorium of the Williamson County Administrative Complex. It will also include time for public input.

At the last special-called meeting, held Tuesday, Aug. 10, the board voted 7-3 to mandate the wearing of masks in all elementary schools in the Williamson County Schools district. Just a few days later, however, Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order that would give parents the option to not comply with the mandate.

A quarter of the district’s elementary students have been opted-out of having to wear a mask, with 4,547 of the 17,973 students in the lower-grade schools going that route. Schools with the highest percentage of students opting out are Hillsboro Elementary/Middle (43 percent) and Pearre Creek (38). Lowest are Sunset (14) and Kenrose (12).

The number of positive cases of the coronavirus for students and staff continues to climb. As of Tuesday afternoon, the district had 485 students and 94 staff in isolation with a confirmed positive case, up 209 and 47 from a week ago.