University of Tennessee brings back ban on students wearing face masks

Tennessee’s flagship university, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, is bringing back its ban on students wearing face masks on campus, less than a day after the ban was rescinded for universities in the state’s system.

The university in Knoxville pulled the ban just before 6pm on Friday, following a public outcry. The ban was instituted the day before in a response to the recent nationwide outbreak of norovirus, one of the most common stomach viruses.

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But on Saturday the university reverted to the policy – which prohibited wearing masks that are on display or for commercial purposes.

“As students prepare to return to class, we have determined the committee’s recommendation to rescind the masks ban is not appropriate in light of the recent concerns regarding the recently reported norovirus outbreak,” university officials said in a statement.

In a letter sent to the university’s students and employees, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam said the ban was backed by university’s president pro tem Will Wrigley and the Board of Trustees.

“In the best interest of protecting and preserving public health, I believe the university should rescind the masks ban effective immediately,” the governor said.

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