CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — The Wake County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to implement a mask mandate for all students and staff.
The board voted 9-0 to continue the universal masking mandate across the state’s largest school district.
Face coverings will still be required indoors for pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade.
It applies to students and staff regardless of their vaccination status.
After hearing from the Wake County Health Department and Duke’s ABC Science Collaborative, several board members cited the importance of in-person learning as their reason for supporting mask mandates for everyone inside school buildings.
The school board’s meeting was met with anti-mask demonstrators who chanted “we will not comply” while standing in the rain.
The school board said it received 482 public comments about COVID-19 policies – including masks.
The board’s decision comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across the state.
The Centers for Disease Control’s updated guidance recommends people living in high-transmission areas wear masks indoors, even if they are already vaccinated. That goes for 79 of North Carolina’s 100 counties — including Wake County.
While the state is recommending mask mandates, it’s up to each school district to make the decision for their schools.
So far, Johnston County has voted to make masks optional while Cumberland, Nash, and Lee counties are requiring students and staff to wear a face mask.
As of right now, Durham County schools will require masks but will meet again in a couple of weeks to review the policy.
Year-round Wake County students are already wearing face coverings at school and on the bus.
A number of county and city buildings across central North Carolina have already brought back mask requirements. A few went into effect last week and others were put into place effective on Monday.
Traditional-calendar schools begin class Aug. 23.