Students in Franklin Special School District will not be required to wear masks in schools during summer programming on campuses as of June 1.

The move was discussed by the FSSD Board of Education during its meeting May 10.

FSSD Director of Schools David Snowden said masks will still be recommended for students and staff, especially when social distancing is not required, but they will no longer be mandatory.

Temperature screenings will also be discontinued as of June 1, although students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms may be sent to a nurse for evaluation. Assigned seating in classrooms and school buses may also still continue.

The district has yet to make a decision on if students and staff will be required to wear masks during the regular school year, but officials are expected to discuss the matter in the coming weeks.

The possibility of field trips and school events during the school year will be evaluated at a later date, Snowden said.

"We're cautiously optimistic that [with] these mitigation protocols, we may be able to even lessen these restrictions as we get to the beginning of the school year, but it's a little too early to say for certain," Snowden said.

The district will also not continue its virtual learning program, which has been in place since the start of the 2020-21 school year, as the state now requires that districts that wish to offer virtual learning must create a separate online school. Williamson County Schools announced in April it would create two online schools as a result.

"Superintendents have been informed [that] the only way to offer a virtual education is to create a totally separate online school. This decision, as stated prior, continues to be extremely disappointing, especially in light of how successfully the FSSD teaching and learning model worked," Snowden said. "We have continued to advocate for the flexibility to use that model for the 2021-22 school year without success."

Snowden said the district had less than 200 parents who indicated they would want their child to continue online learning; however, the district expects that number will continue to decline.

Students who are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19 would still be able to learn virtually, according to district officials.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the district would make masks optional for the 2021-22 school year. The district has not yet decided if masks will be required for students and staff during the regular school year; however it will remove the mandatory requirement for summer programming.