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Opinion | Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is failing our children, yet again, when it comes to COVID-19 | Richard Ransom

“Masks are no silver bullet, but we know they help. Politicians should stay out of it and let doctors do what they know best.”

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In Monday’s Ransom Note: playing politics with our kids' health. That's what Tennessee Governor Bill Lee did today.

Under tremendous pressure from fellow Republicans to hold a special session and change the law about mask mandates, Lee instead issued an executive order, telling parents they can have their kids "opt out" of wearing face masks, which is directly against the advice of doctors including the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Lee said parents know what's best for their kids and, of course, most parents do do their best. But to follow the governor's logic, why not let parents opt out of other vaccines to attend our schools? Several currently are required of students K-12, under Tennessee state law.

While we're at it, since parents know best, let's let them opt out of dress code requirements. Here's the thing: we are in a COVID-19 hot spot, especially for pediatric cases, yet kids under 12 can't even get a vaccine right now. Look, masks are no silver bullet, but we know they help. Politicians should stay out of it and let doctors do what they know best.

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