SOUTHEASTERN N.C. (WECT) – Multiple Southeastern North Carolina counties’ Boards of Education made differentiating decisions on mask mandates for its students to begin the school year.
While Brunswick County voted to begin the 2021-22 school year with face coverings required inside school buildings for all K-12 students, Bladen and Columbus County School Boards voted not to require masks for students and staff but will strongly encourage wearing them.
At a meeting Monday night, the Brunswick County Board of Education voted in favor of all students wearing masks to begin the 2021-22 school year.
All students grades K-12 are required to wear masks at all times inside school buildings, regardless of their vaccination status.
Staff members who are vaccinated are not required to wear masks, while staff members who are not vaccinated must wear a mask at all times.
While playing sports inside, students will not have to wear a mask but are required to wear one while sitting on the bench or sidelines. For outdoor sports, students are not required to wear masks even if they are not playing.
Similar to New Hanover County Schools, the Brunswick County Board of Education will revisit its masking policies each month to determine whether mandates are still necessary.
The Bladen County Board of Education also held a meeting Monday night, ultimately deciding not to require masks for students.
Masks will however be strongly encouraged. They will still be required on school buses, following CDC guidelines.
The Columbus County Board of Education has made masks optional for students and staff to begin the school year.
According to Ronnie Strickland, the Board’s vice chair, the motion to mandate masks failed, making the wearing of masks optional. Strickland made a motion to require only staff members to wear masks, but the motion died after no other members seconded it.
“We can’t afford to lose a lot of teachers due to Covid quarantine,” Strickland said.
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