NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -While they may not be the most at-risk as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, kids diagnosed with the virus are no exception.

At his press briefing Thursday afternoon, Gov. Bill Lee said he will not recommend schools to require wearing masks in the fall, but will instead leave it up to the districts to decide. 

This announcement comes after cases in school-aged children continue to rise.

So far, over 7,800 children ages 5-18 in Tennessee have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 

"Parents should have the choice for the education of their children," the governor said. "If that choice for them is in-person learning, then we need to provide that choice for them."

In Middle Tennessee, six counties make the top 10 list for COVID diagnoses among school-aged children. The counties are:

  • Davidson (1,476 cases)
  • Rutherford (512 cases)
  • Williamson (309 cases)
  • Sumner (299 cases)
  • Putnam (204 cases)
  • Wilson (177 cases)

"Kids typically don't get the bad outcomes adults get, but they very well can carry it and they very well can give it on to a sick family member or somebody else," said Dr. Alex Jahangir, Chair of the Nashville COVID-19 Taskforce. 

"We do believe that districts should make decisions on their own, according to the conditions on the ground," Gov. Bill Lee added. 

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