FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Cumberland County school leaders Tuesday evening joined other counties in central North Carolina by voting to require masks in schools this year.
About a dozen protesters showed their displeasure at the decision, which was unanimous.
“I don’t think that I should be forced to send my first grader or my fifth grader to go on campus for six, seven, eight hours wearing a mask if I don’t feel it’s necessary,” said parent Jessica Anderson. “That’s my right, I’m their parent, I get to choose for them.”
The school board approval came after hearing from parents Tuesday evening and the superintendent made a recommendation for masks.
The superintendent said the state’s quarantine rules are different if students wear masks. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services toolkit, a student exposed to a potential COVID-19 case does not have to quarantine if both students were wearing masks.
Board members say a mandate will make in-person learning possible.
“Our priority focus is to have the children in school, and this gives the best chance for that to happen for the whole year,” said board member Greg West.
The masks will be required for pre-K through 12th-grade students. The superintendent said masks will not be required outside, unless students can’t social distance.
The school district has required masks for year-round students and staff.