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Mecklenburg County updates indoor mask mandate to include all public, private and parochial schools, MACS to adopt mandate

This requirement applies to all individuals who are at least five years of age.
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 12:35 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2021 at 7:23 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have updated the indoor mask mandate to include all public, private and parochial schools.

The two governments updated the third amended joint proclamation of the Chairman of the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners and the Mayor of the City of Charlotte.

The revised mandate to clarifies that ALL schools (public, private and parochial) and all businesses (public and private) are now required to wear face coverings in all indoor public places.

Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools will now adopt the indoor mask mandate starting Wednesday, Aug. 25, which they say will give the schools a day to make necessary adjustments and communicate with families and staff.

“We continue to believe parents are in the best position to understand their children’s needs, and will allow for parents to request an exemption in line with the proclamation. Staff with health conditions or other circumstances that require them to be exempt may also request an exemption. Please contact your school office for an exemption form,” Superintendent of Catholic Schools Dr. Gregory P. Monroe said.

In a previous letter to all families, officials with Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools (MACS) indicated that parents and guardians would have the ability to choose when it is appropriate for their student to wear a face covering.

“I really do believe that that requirement is in the best interest of everyone’s health and safety,” said MACS parent Erin DeWaters.

DeWaters praised the success of in-person learning last school year - she believes it worked so well because masks were required along with other safety guidelines.

“That’s why for me as a parent it’s so confusing that the MACS school system had originally took this stance of optional masks and still has not come back with a required mask policy at this time,” DeWaters said.

WBTV reached out to Mecklenburg County Public Health for clarification on the mask mandate. Public Health officials responded and said they were working to revise the Public Health Rule to clarify that all schools in Mecklenburg County are covered by the mask mandate, and the rule applies to public, private, and parochial schools in the community.

Public Health provided the following statement:

“There have been multiple questions about how the Mask Mandate Proclamation and Rule pertains to schools in Mecklenburg County. Although it was not spelled out in the language, the intent of both documents was that schools were to be included as public spaces and environments. In conversation this morning with Dr. Monroe, Superintendent of the MACS, I clarified the intent of the Rule as it pertains to all schools. One of the main drivers for the necessity of a mask mandate is the need to protect our children as they return to school and to ensure ongoing in-school education for them as we manage our way through the current surge of COVID-19 cases in our community. While I understand and appreciate the intent of the MACS option for masking, I believe that all schools should be part of the mask mandate to accomplish this intent,” the statement from Mecklenburg County Public Health read.

Parent Melissa Swanson said she would not be sending her child to school with a mask BUT if the school’s guidance changed so would she.

”I trust them one hundred percent when they make a call. If they make a call that we have to go back to wearing a mask then that’s what we do. We’re rule followers and we’ll follow the rules,” Swanson said.

MACS is also practicing social distancing, hand washing, and contact tracing, but DeWaters says more should be done.

“I would love to see them put masks in place for Monday morning,” DeWaters said.

Read more about the Mecklenburg County indoor mask mandate here.

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