Doctors, educators call for Gov. Lee to issue mask mandate

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(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As the number of positive COVID-19 cases increase, doctors and educators urged Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to issue a statewide mask mandate.

The call to action was made during an online meeting held Wednesday, WKRN reported. The news station reported that their stance is supported by some 30,000 Tennesseans and points to the “rapid rise in case numbers” and hospitilazations.

The educators on the call also asked for Lee to ban schooling in person “until community spread is under control.”

Tennessee is currently the only state in the Mid-South that does not have a mask mandate in place. Lee has said in the past that he prefers to leave community decisions to local leaders.

Lee has promoted reopening schools in-person as the “medically sound, preferred option” over a virtual model, while arguing that it’s dependent on quickly isolating those who are sick and quarantining their close contacts.

According to Lee’s new school guidelines, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days from the onset of their symptoms or isolate 10 days from the date they were tested.

On Tuesday, Lee also reversed course by announcing that Tennessee will release data on COVID-19 in schools despite initially declaring such information would not be collected by the state.

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