KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Kingsport City Schools became the latest local school district to announce that face masks will be optional when school starts this fall.

At Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Dr. Jeff Moorhouse presented the district’s COVID-19 guidelines for the new school year.

“Students, staff, and visitors who have not been fully vaccinated are recommended but not required to appropriately wear face masks while indoors,” Moorehouse said.

This came shortly after the CDC released new guidelines recommending that teachers, staff, and students wear masks regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.

Moorhouse urged students and staff to get vaccinated.

“Ultimately, the thing that allows us to navigate this the best is to have people vaccinated,” Moorhouse said.

The Sullivan County Health Department will handle cases and contact tracing when positive cases arise.

Health Department Director Stephen May said the new CDC guidance is essentially the same as what had already been recommended.

“That’s not a lot different; it’s reinforcing it,” May said. “There are many school systems, though, that have chosen not to follow those types of guidelines.”

Moorhouse also said free testing will be available with parental consent, making COVID-19 much like other infectious diseases.

“That is not unlike tests that we give right now,” Moorhouse said. “We have the ability to give strep tests, flu tests, things of that nature in our clinics. Now we’re just adding that capacity to do COVID testing.”