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Bill giving parents authority to decide if kids wear masks in schools clears Senate

North Carolina State Senate.
North Carolina State Senate.(WITN)
Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 4:34 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - The N.C. Senate approved a bill Thursday giving parents control over the decision to mask their children in schools.

The bill will make masks optional in K-12 schools and early childhood programs on state property.

“Giving parents the ability to choose whether their child wears a mask balances the specific needs of a family. It’s past time to give our students a lifeline and let them get back to learning freely,” said Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), who serves as the chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee.

The requirement for school boards to vote on their masking policies every 30 days will be repealed in this bill. Also, schools will not be allowed to treat students differently according to their mask preferences.

Senate Bill 173 passed the Senate 28-17 and the House approved the bill, which will now go to Gov. Roy Cooper for his consideration.

Also on Thursday, as COVID-19 metrics are continuing to show a steady decline in positivity rates, Governor Cooper encouraged schools and local governments to end their mask mandates.

“We are taking a positive step on mask requirements to help us move safely toward a more normal day to day life,” said Governor Cooper. “It’s time to focus on getting our children a good education and improving our schools, no matter how you feel about masks.”

There are still some places, like health care, long-term care and transportation like airplanes, buses and school buses, where a mask will be required because of the setting or federal regulations.

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