CMS will require masks this school year

CMS will require masks this school year
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share by Email
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share by Email

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board voted 8-1 Friday to require face coverings inside all schools for the upcoming academic year.

The decision follows a recommendation from superintendent Earnest Winston. He’ll evaluate the situation after each quarter to determine whether a change in the mask requirement is necessary, per CMS. The universal masking applies to all students over the age of two, plus staff, volunteers and visitors inside buildings and buses.

  • Masks will be optional outdoors on school grounds, CMS said in a statement.

Why it matters: School boards nationwide have been grappling with whether to require masks amid a surge of the highly contagious Delta variant. Experts have said masks in schools are a way to curb the spread of the virus to the rest of the community. Furthermore, masks protect children under 12, who can’t get the coronavirus vaccine yet.

What they’re saying: “The infection numbers in our county are cause for serious concern – and significant precautions to protect our students and staff,” said Elyse Dashew, chair of the Board of Education.

The CDC, NC DHHS, the Mecklenburg County Health Department and pediatricians have all recommended universal masking in schools.

  • “You can prevent transmission in schools if you do the things you’re supposed to do to mitigate (COVID spread), so masking is definitely critical,” Dr. Amina Ahmed, a pediatric infectious disease physician with Atrium Health, told reporters this month.
  • “(Masking) gives us the opportunity to keep our kids in the classroom. We don’t want entire classrooms to have to be quarantined,” county health director Gibbie Harris told Axios in a recent interview.

Yes, but: Most other school boards around Mecklenburg are making masks optional for the upcoming school year. Among them: Gaston, Cabarrus, Iredell and Mooresville, as WSOC’s Joe Bruno noted. CMS’s decision was not without controversy, either.

  • At CMS’s meeting Friday, dozens of parents showed up holding signs with messages like “Don’t Mask My Freedom” and “Unmask our children,” as WCNC’s Tanya Mendis reported.
Story Views:
SIGN UP
Join the 113,656 smart Charlotteans that receive our daily newsletter.
"It's good. I promise." - Emma   Emma Way