Parents split on new guidance for wearing masks in school

Reaction to state updated school mask mandate is mixed
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 12:09 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen on Wednesday shared updated guidance for next school year.

You’ll want to add masks to your back to school shopping list if your little one isn’t vaccinated — that’s the word from the Governor. While everyone is expected to go back to in-person learning, schools should still require students and teachers in kindergarten through the 8th grade to wear masks, according to the updated guidance. The updated North Carolina StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit also directs schools to ensure unvaccinated high school students and teachers wear masks indoors.

The updated Toolkit says schools should require masks, but it will ultimately be up to the schools to make that happen as the statewide mask mandate expires next week.

Parents are already pushing back — with some arguing masking should be up to the parents, not the school system.

“I understand that parents have anxiety. I don’t have that same anxiety and I make the choices for what’s best for my children and they can make what’s best for their children. It is not the school’s job to tell my children they have to wear a mask. They need to focus on educating my child,” said Amanda Krug, who has three kids enrolled in New Hanover County Schools.

New Hanover County Schools is a statement said it plans to continue following the guidance provided in the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit.

“New Hanover County Schools plans to continue following the guidance provided in the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit, just as we have since the beginning of the pandemic. If and when we incorporate new guidance into our back-to-school plans, we will promptly communicate that with our families.”

One school did leave it up to families to decide whether or not their children should be masked up this school year.

Coastal Preparatory Academy Board of Directors in partnership with Charter One, which supports charter schools across the nation, said in a release sent out earlier this week that is stands by their promise to provide families with a choice.

Several parents have voiced their concerns to WECT News. One parent who will be new to the school this upcoming school year is concerned because kids under the age of 12 do not have the option to get vaccinated against the virus.

“When someone does get sick in the school then what are we looking at, you know, then what measures are they going to take to protect the other children?” said Rachael Birkenhauer.

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