Facial Masking

More NC school districts are dropping face mask mandate

A third of North Carolina school districts won’t need it. face masksStudents return to class after the Thanksgiving holiday break.

At least 39 of North Carolina’s 115 school districts have voted to make faceAccording to the N.C. School Boards Association database, coverings are optional. Most of the state’s public school students are in districts that still mandate masksHowever, the number making faceCoverage options are steadily increasing.

Schools districts are caught between parents who say and those who do. masksshould remain until more children receive the COVID vaccine, and other parents who feel the mandate should have been ended long ago.

MAINProtesters, as well as counter-protesters, demonstrate outside the Wake County Board of Education meeting in Cary on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021. The board will vote to continue to require face masks in schools. Some parents argue that coverings should not be required. Travis Long [email protected]

“We’re just in a really bad time until we can move forward and move out of all of the different things that are keeping us — I don’t even know what word to say for what we’re still dealing with — when it comes to COVID,”Before the vote, Tawny McCoy, chairperson of Transylvania County’s school board, stated that she would make face masksOptional starting Nov. 29

Transylvania County lies more than 270 miles west from Raleigh. The small district of schools in Western North Carolina is like many others that have reversed courses multiple times since summer. face masks.

Individual school boards and charter schools make it possible to create face mask decisions because the state doesn’t have the final say like it did last school year. The state legislature also requires monthly votes on masking policy.

Masks dropped despite NC advice

The state Department of Health and Human Services recommends schools should have a school nurse. face masksIndoors. DHHS changed its recommendations in October to say that schools could consider not requiring it. masksIf the COVID transmission rates in their county drop to moderate or low levels.

As of Tuesday, only six of North Carolina’s 100 counties: Halifax, Hertford, Lee, Northampton, Scotland and Tyrrell have low to moderate COVID transmission rates. All school districts in these counties still require COVID transmission rates. masks.

All 39 mask-optional counties are those with high or very severe COVID community transmissions rates. They’re also all in counties that Republican Donald Trump won in the 2020 presidential election.

The Gaston County school board voted to end the program this month. maskRefusal to follow the recommendations of the county’s health director. Gaston County lies 180 miles west Raleigh.

“In life there are risks and rewards for every action we undertake,”Jamin Jenkins, a middle-school parent, spoke in front of the Gaston County school board prior to its vote. “I know there are risks of rolling back mask mandates. But I believe the rewards outweigh the risks.”

All school districts within the counties where Democrat Joe Biden won 2020 the presidential election are still mandated face masks. This includes the state’s five largest school systems: Wake, Mecklenburg, Guilford, Forsyth and Cumberland counties.

111221-SCHOOL-STAFFING-TELL-0007.JPGJim Hunt, a retired artist teacher, substitutes at Aversboro elementary school in Garner Tuesday Nov. 9, 2021. Aversboro has an 20% teacher vacancy rate. Travis Long [email protected]

There are still 76 school districts in total. masks represent 64% of the state’s K-12 public school enrollment. The 39 mask27% of the enrollment is made up by -optional districts

The remaining 9% of public school students attend charter schools, laboratory schools, and the single school Innovative School District. It’s uncertain how many of those schools require masks.

Should schools wait for the vaccination rates to rise before they are vaccinated?

The number of school districts that voted not to require masksThe number of COVID cases has more than doubled in the last month. The school leaders in these districts cited the drop in COVID cases statewide as well as the expansion of access to the COVID vaccine.

Pfizer was granted federal approval in October to distribute the COVID vaccine to children 5-11 years of age. Children as young as 12 years old could not get the shot previously.

The COVID vaccination rate among students is one factor that school districts use, such as Wake County to decide when to end the program. mask mandate. According to DHHS only 12% of children aged 5 to 11 years and 45% for children 12 to 17, have received at minimum one dose of the COVID vaccination.

The school board in Henderson County voted to temporarily restore the school board’s authority at an emergency meeting. maskMandatory for students in prekindergarten through sixth grade. The vote was taken after the district, 260 miles west Raleigh, saw an increase in elementary students who tested positive for COVID. masks were made optional.

This change was made to allow these students more time to get fully vaccinated against COVID. Unvaccinated students are subject to stricter state health quarantine requirements for COVID, especially if they are not masking.

“Parents and families have the opportunity, to choose a vaccine — if they believe it to be best or not.— and if they choose to do so, they have the opportunity to ensure that their child is not quarantined from school,”John Bryant, Henderson County Superintendent, spoke to the school board.

This report was contributed by Gavin Off and David Raynor, news researchers.

Continue reading our Coronavirus Reporting in North Carolina

Check out all stories

Raleigh News & Observer has similar stories

T. Keung Hui is a journalist who has covered K-12 education in North Carolina for the News & Observer. Since 1999, he has helped parents, students, teachers, and the community to understand the importance of education in North Carolina. Although his primary focus is Wake County education, he also covers statewide education issues.

Continue reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *