Bolivar, TN, July 27, 2020: I have recently received several telephone calls and messages expressing concern about a city-wide face covering mandate and the opening of the local school district. I would like to clarify these issues for the citizens of Bolivar.
Executive Order #54, An Order Providing Local Governments With Authority Concerning Face Coverings, was issued by Governor Bill Lee on July 3, 2020. Section 2 of this order delegates the authority to issue orders concerning face coverings to the county mayors in the 89 counties that do not have a locally run county health department. The authority to issue orders concerning face coverings was not delegated to city mayors, therefore, I do not have the jurisdictional authority to issue a city-wide face covering mandate.
I also understand that many are concerned and anxious about the local schools reopening. The Hardeman County School District is the local education authority under a county administration system. The City of Bolivar does not have a municipal school district, therefore, decisions regarding the school system rest solely with the school district. Neither I, nor the members of the Bolivar City Council, have any authority with regard to the decisions of the school system.
The Hardeman County School District has issued two comprehensive documents, the Hardeman County Schools 2020-2021 Re-Entry Plan and the Hardeman County Schools 2020-2021 Health and Safety Protocols, which explain the district’s reopening plan in detail. I have reviewed both of the documents and commend the district for their attention to detail and for keeping the health and safety of our children as their top priority. For those who are not comfortable with their children returning to the classroom, the district is providing the option and resources for virtual learning free to every household.
As we have seen over the past six (6) months, dealing with this pandemic is an ever-changing situation. While the health and safety of our children must remain our top priority, the education of our children must also continue either in a brick-and-mortar classroom or virtually. To read the district’s re-entry plan and health and safety protocols, please visit their website at www.hcsedu.org.
We continue to encourage all of our citizens to maintain appropriate social distancing, wear face coverings while in public, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, remain at home if you are ill, and to limit contact with the public to that which is absolutely necessary.
Sadly, Hardeman County has lost a total of 11 citizens to this pandemic. Our hearts ache for their loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones. As our children and the school staff prepare to return to their various schools, I ask you to join me in lifting them up in prayer for their continued good health, their safety, and their well-being.
Mayor Julian A. McTizic, Sr.