RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More COVID-19 protocols could soon be coming to Wake County Public Schools.
Since the beginning of August, at least 700 students and staff members in the district have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the district’s website. Because of that, the school board will meet next week to consider mandating masks outside and requiring unvaccinated student-athletes and employees to submit to routine testing.
“Of course we gotta protect our kids, even if we have to go to crazy measures, put on a mask even if it’s outside. Suck it up buttercup,” said Vinny Sosa, who has two children in Wake County schools.
When asked if he felt that way about kids wearing masks in the heat, Sosa responded with, “Even if it’s 100 degrees out.”
Other Wake County parents like Miriam Ruehle agree, and say safety should come first.
“I know it’s uncomfortable, but it’s what’s keeping the kids safe,” said Ruehle. “She can’t get vaccinated yet, so there’s always a chance she could get really sick.”
The Sayers told CBS 17 they support any additional measures that will keep their daughter in school and out of online learning.
“For her to be back in school full time in-person has just exceeded all of our expectations for what that meant for her to have those experiences again,” said Rebecca Sayers, whose daughter is in the 6th grade. “We’ll do whatever they want to do to keep schools open — sign us up, we’ll do whatever they ask of us.”
But even the original indoor mask mandates have prompted protests at recent school board meetings. Some parents feel strongly that the possibility of additional requirements goes too far and exceptions are needed.
“I think it’s a little much for some of the kids, again, how many students do you have in close contact? I mean, it makes sense, but I think it’s a little bit much,” said Kyle Faust, a father of two children who attend Wake County Public Schools, said about the possibility of requiring masks outdoors.
When it comes to the proposed testing requirement for students athletes, Faust added, “I think it would all depend on the sport for close contact — if you’re on the golf team and out there by yourself, I don’t think you should be doing that. But if you’re doing football, basketball or close-contact stuff I think to keep everyone safe, you should be doing that.”
The school board will also consider expanding outdoor lunch options, something some schools already offer.
“At my school, we’re allowed to eat outside. But they do still ask us to put our masks on while we’re talking and when we’re not eating,” said Katie Sosa, a 10th grader in Wake County Public Schools.
The school board will meet Tuesday, Sept. 7 at the board of education in Cary.
Parents can submit comments and concerns on the proposed changes starting Friday.