A North Carolina school board member who voted against masks in his school district before voting for them asked for prayers after COVID-19 hospitalized him.
“Please say a little prayer for me tonight,” Cleveland County school board member Rodney Fitch posted on Facebook last Thursday. “I am in the hospital dealing with low oxygen levels thanks to Covid.”
Fitch ended his post with two emojis of hands together pointing skyward.
He has since provided no update on his condition.
On July 31, Fitch posted on Facebook that mask wearing should be each individual’s “freedom of choice.”
“I know many people who fought for the freedoms we have in this country,” Fitch posted. “If the mask truly work then if you wear your mask you should be protected from the folks that don’t. Hand washing should still be something we all are doing on a regular basis. This is my 2 cents worth on how I personally feel about mask.
“The virus is real but citizens of the country should have a choice,” he ended his post.
It was not immediately known if Fitch had received a COVID vaccination.
On Aug. 9, Fitch joined four other board members who voted against a motion to require students, teachers and staff to wear masks during the 2021-22 school year, The Shelby Star reported at the time. The motion failed 5-4, according to the Star.
On Aug. 18, the board voted again, this time mandating that masks be worn, WBTV reported.
Fitch, a Republican, joined six other members in voting in favor of masks during the Aug. 18 emergency session, the Star reported. It was not clear Tuesday why he changed his mind.
The board approved requiring masks in all school buildings during the instructional day due to a countywide increase in COVID-related illnesses, according to the Cleveland County Schools website.