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Delta Variant makes masks in schools a hot topic for eastern Carolina parents

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:55 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - School boards in eastern North Carolina will meet soon to discuss the decision of whether or not to require masks for all students in schools this school year.

decision to require masks left to school boards.
decision to require masks left to school boards.(WITN News)

In his press conference Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper gave his position on the topic, saying he felt that schools with children in grades kindergarten through eighth grade should be required to wear masks regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated. Parents in the east have differing opinions. Many are saying that it should be left up to the parents and families on the decision to wear masks. Others say that it is better to wear masks to err on the side of caution.

“He didn’t necessarily love wearing a mask, but he did it and the teachers did a good job at following the CDC guidelines to keep the kids safe,” said Kelly Weaver, a mother of three who says her son had to wear a mask in school last school year. Weaver went on to say that wearing a mask didn’t affect her son’s learning experience.

Some parents like Amy Andrews, who says she has children both above and below the vaccination age say she understands both sides of the argument. When asked how she feels about the masks, Andrews said, “I don’t like wearing a mask no one really loves it,” but in the wake of the Delta variant of COVID-19 now affecting those who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated says, “It’s concerning that someone without a mask, even vaccinated people, can pass on something to her so we want to be as preventative as possible.”

With the recent guidance by the state still fresh, most of the public school boards in the east have yet to finalize new mask protocols for the upcoming school year, but school boards like Onslow County’s say, “We want to make sure we’re providing a safe environment for our students and staff that’s going to be respectful of what our community is wanting to see as we move back into reopening and starting school back up in August.” Brent Anderson of the Onslow County School Board, says that the school board has proposals for new protocols they will review in upcoming board meetings.

Health professionals like Whitney Jezec, of the Onslow County Public Health Department, are urging parents to prioritize getting their children vaccinated in time for their children to have full efficacy by the beginning of the school year regardless of their respective school boards ruling.

“That window is closing very quickly. School starts on the 23rd of August, and you want them fully vaccinated by the 23rd and you want them to be that 14th day you need to get in now,” said Jezec.

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