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Board votes to make masks optional for Iredell-Statesville Schools

The board not only voted to do away with masks, but it will also stop contact tracing among employees starting Nov. 9.
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:35 AM EST
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STATESVILLE, N.C. (WBTV) – Masks will now be optional in Iredell-Statesville Schools following the school board’s decision at its Monday night meeting.

The board not only voted to do away with masks, but it will also stop contact tracing among employees starting Nov. 9.

Beginning Tuesday morning, both students and employees of Iredell-Statesville Schools can leave their masks at home.

Those who do want to wear their masks, however, are free to do so.

Monday night’s vote was close, with four board members voting to make masks optional and three voting against it.

The vote came after much back and forth on the matter. Back in July, the school board had voted to make masks optional, but put the mandate back in place after a COVID-19 outbreak, as more than 200 students were isolated with COVID symptoms.

Related: Masks now required for Iredell-Statesville students

During Monday night’s meeting, tensions were high on both sides of the issue.

“No way a child should live in fear,” board member Bill Howell said. “I will make the motion that we go back to optional masks.”

“I’ve had a lot more emails from the people who want us to continue the masks than the people that don’t,” board chairman Martin Page said. “So this is a tough one. I think at the present time I’ll probably vote to maintain the masks.”

The issue is a sensitive one for many parents and teachers, and things could change again. The state requires school boards to look at policies regarding masks and COVID issues once every month.

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