With the start of the school year just weeks away, some Charlotte-area school districts continue to debate the use of face masks as the COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread across the Carolinas.
The more-contagious delta variant has been found in over 75% of COVID-19 tests in recent weeks, North Carolina officials have said. Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials recommended last week that all students and staff in K-8 wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. High school students should wear masks if they’re not vaccinated, Cooper said.
Fully vaccinated people should begin wearing a mask in public settings once again — including in schools, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board will hold an emergency meeting Friday to discuss mask guidelines for the 2021-22 school year.
This is where other Charlotte-area school districts stand on mask-wearing:
Cabarrus County Schools: The school board voted 5-2 on Monday to make masks optional for students and staff when they return to school on Aug. 23.
Catawba County Schools: Masks are optional, except on yellow buses and activity buses.
Gaston County Schools: In a 9-0 vote Tuesday night, the school board went against the advice of county health director and opted to leave masks as optional for parents, according to WFAE radio.
Iredell-Statesville Schools: The school board on Wednesday unanimously voted to make masks optional with “thresholds in place” to require them if necessary.
Lincoln County Schools: The school board voted June 29 to make masks optional “so long as we have the authority to make a decision.”
Mooresville Graded School District: The board voted to make face coverings optional for staff and students during a special meeting Sunday.
Rowan-Salisbury Schools: On July 12, the school board voted to make masks optional for everyone, including visitors, effective immediately.
Union County Public Schools: Melissa Merrell, chair of the Union County Board of Education, told WBTV, the Observer’s news partner, that masks will not be a requirement for the 2021-22 school year. On July 13, the board unanimously voted to make masks optional for students and staff.
South Carolina schools
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order in May that allows parents, guardians and legal custodians to opt out of mask requirements by school districts, The State of Columbia reported.
Lancaster County Schools: Masks will be optional with a waiver.
York District 1: There will be an opt-out option for students and staff, but the district is encouraging mask wearing.
Fort Mill School District: Students and staff aren’t required to wear masks.
Clover School District: Parents can opt out children of wear masks, but they will have to be worn on buses.
Rock Hill Schools: Face masks are recommended, but students and parents can opt out of wearing them.