Lenoir County community reacts to school mask mandate

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 8:26 PM EST
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LENOIR COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A high number of daily positive cases has caused school districts in Eastern Carolina to make changes to their COVID-19 protocols.

On Monday, the Lenoir County school board elected to reinstate its mandatory mask mandate, effective Wednesday.

The school board originally chose to maintain an optional mask policy at its regularly-scheduled board meeting on Jan. 3rd, but many families of students and health experts feel that reinstating the mask mandate was the right decision.

“I think that’s a good idea. Keep them from getting sick, you know?” Kinston resident Gloria Edwards said.

Another Kinston resident, Hilda Royal, agrees.

Pamela Brown, Lenoir County public health director, says the mandate is a necessary measure with the county’s spike of positive COVID-19 cases, many coming from kids.

Brown says the amount of cases Tuesday is over 700, and despite recent debates in the health community about whether disposable and cloth masks are as effective as the KN95 masks, a barrier will always help.

“The better quality of mask that you can get definitely would offer more protection than some others, but I think that at this point, what you have access to, please utilize,” Brown said.

Royal agrees with Brown, saying, “So many children [are] in the hospital with COVID, and the kids really need to wear their masks.”

Brenda Lawyer says she was a substitute teacher before the pandemic. “I feel like we have to have some balance in the school system for the staff as well as the students,” she said.

School board representatives told WITN they will have masks on standby at school campuses. They say the masks won’t be KN95 masks, but they will be quality cloth and disposable masks.

The Lenoir County Health Department has community testing sites throughout the city of Kinston. And COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites can be found here.

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