WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Washington County Board of Education voted Thursday to extend its mask mandate until January.

The board’s vote was unanimous, and parents may still opt their children out of the mandate, per Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s executive order.

The mandate was originally approved on August 19. Superintendent Jerry Boyd recommended no change to the mandate, saying the protocols were helping in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

“Schools are managing very well,” Boyd said. “The cases in, you know, regionally we’re still seeing a lot of trends that’s concerning to our medical professionals within our schools. But the protocols we have in place, my recommendation is that we continue with our existing protocols.”

Boyd said the reduced cases in Washington County Schools could be credited to the mask mandate and the week off that was taken to allow those in quarantine to return.

The school district plans to continue following its other protocols, which include seating charts and the cleaning of surfaces.

The board will reconsider the mandate and its other protocols in January.

The Johnson City School Board also voted to extend its mask mandate with an opt-out option until January earlier in September.