Charlotte area school boards discuss masks

Doctors urge patience as pressure on school boards mounts.

CHARLOTTE, NC — Masks were once again the subject of discussion in several Charlotte-area school districts Tuesday night.

Classroom face coverings have become controversial. Doctors urge patience as pressure on school boards mounts.

“My suggestion is that schools should continue to mask up until we overcome the omicron surge significantly, just to protect ourselves from student, staff and teacher absenteeism,” said Dr Christopher Ohl from Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist.

Here’s a closer look at where school districts landed.

Optional masks

the Cabarrus County School Board on Monday, February 7, voted to change the district’s face covering policy for the coming month. Council members voted 6 to 1 for the district to switch to optional masks beginning Feb. 8. Masks will be optional for students and staff in all buildings, but will still be required on buses. Audience members cheered as they cast their votes.

the Avery County School Board voted on Tuesday to maintain an optional mask policy for students and staff.

Lincoln County Schools will also continue optional masks after council members voted on the measure by a 4-3 decision.

Mandatory masks

In Alexander County, board members voted to maintain its weekly COVID-19 guidelines for masks to provide flexibility. The masks will remain in place this week until February 13. You can learn more about COVID-19 data for the school system at the neighborhood website.

Caldwell County Schools continues to use COVID-19 measures to decide on face coverings, which was discussed during Tuesday’s working session. Under the current metric system, the district is subject to a mandatory mask policy until February 11. You can learn more about COVID-19 measures by visiting the district’s website.


Hot times at the Iredell-Statesville schools reunion

the Iredell-Statesville Schools Monday night council meeting had some fireworks. Several times, audience members were told to stop interrupting speakers.

Parents’ advocacy group “Free the Smile” made a presentation at the meeting, and some expressed concerns about the possible long-term impacts COVID-19 safety measures could have on their children.

“It is time to abandon mask mandates and contact tracing because these measures have a negative, not to say horrific, effect on the development and the psyche of our children,” Fiona Oxsher told the meeting. “And in many cases, those effects are far worse than the virus itself.”

In the end, the board didn’t vote at all, keeping the required masks in classrooms until at least next week. Troutman police confirm that after the meeting ended, several people refused to leave. The police were able to resolve the situation peacefully and no arrests were made.

CMS continues universal masking as Mecklenburg County health officials say county mandate may soon be removed

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools council members voted on Tuesday in favor of keeping a universal masking mandate in schools.

Tuesday night’s meeting focused on masks, though the board is unable to make changes to its universal masking policy until the county does.

CMS board chair Elyse Dashew said any talk about lifting mandatory mask mandates in CMS schools is premature.

“I can’t wait to get back to the fact that whatever date the county lifts the mandate until then is just political posturing, which I don’t think we have time for,” he said. said Dashew.

Ahead of Tuesday’s school board meeting, the Mecklenburg County health director said he could make a proposal to get rid of the county’s mask mandate as soon as next week.

RELATED: Mecklenburg County Health Director May Propose Eliminating Mask Mandate Next Week

This would allow the council to vote to make masks optional in schools.

CMS board member Rhonda Cheek, joined by Sean Strain, voted against continuing the mask mandate.

“We also need to look at the impact of masks on children, including their socio-emotional health and language development issues,” Cheek said.

RELATED: Cabarrus County Schools Adopt Optional Mask Policy Effective Feb. 8

The vote on the universal mask mandate was listed under a consent program. The board voted 6 to 3 in favor of the consent agenda items.

At-Large Board Member Jennifer De La Jara was forced to vote against the mask mandate because it was lumped into the consent agenda items. De La Jara said earlier in the meeting that she was not voting against the mask mandate, but rather voting against a separate consent agenda item.

Click here for the full list of schools and their mask policies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

WCNC Charlotte is one of seven major media companies and other local institutions reporting on and engaging the community around issues and solutions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. Find all our reports on charlottejournalism.org.