University Of Tennessee Lifts Mask Mandate Following Statewide Legislation

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Kaitlin Housler Contributor
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The University of Tennessee (UT) System announced Monday that students attending the university will be allowed to attend classes without a mask, effective immediately.

The announcement from the UT System comes after Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a COVID-19 omnibus bill into law Friday. One of the bills signed into law by Lee, SB9014/HB9077, “precludes state entities from having mask or vaccine mandates unless exempted from the law by the State Comptroller when federal funding is at risk,” as noted in a press release by the UT System. (RELATED: Doctor Tells CNN Anchor That It Might Be 2 Years Before Its Safe To Lift Mask Mandates, ‘Especially’ For Children)

The Tennessee Comptroller’s Office has set up a webpage that allows Tennessee businesses, governmental entities, or schools to seek an exemption from Lee’s new law that prohibits Tennessee businesses from imposing vaccine or mask mandates.

In response, the University of Tennessee System has “applied for an exemption to allow each campus and institute the flexibility necessary to implement the requirements of the federal executive order as required by certain federal contracts with UT campuses and institutes.”

The UT System notes that if they receive the exemption, “you [students] will hear directly from your leadership as to how the federal executive order may apply to your campus or institute.”