The Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a mask mandate during a special meeting Wednesday evening, Sept. 8 in the school cafeteria.

The five-member board voted to approve an amendment for Policy 4428, which provides the district the authority to establish guidelines and requirements for masks. Facial coverings are consistent with guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Dana Eversole, along with Chrissi Nimmo, Lorraine Walker, Ed Myers, and Shawn Coffman, all voted to approve the measure.

TPS will provide masks to all students and visitors. Medical, religious, and personal exemptions will be available to those who want them.

Forms can be found at school sites and online at Teachers, principals, and staff will also be able to opt out of wearing masks.

Comments were taken from the audience, despite a public comment section not appearing on the agenda. One parent required Eversole to close public comment to move ahead with the vote.

Tahlequah becomes the third and final independent K-12 public school district in Cherokee County to require masks. Hulbert did so first, before a judge put a stay on the Legislature's law banning mask mandates. Last week, Keys also imposed a mandate. Some of the eight rural districts require masks, as does Cherokee Nation Sequoyah.

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