Lee, Nash County schools will require masks for fall semester

The Lee County School Board will require masks for kindergarten through 12th grade students in the upcoming school year.

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Maggie Brown, WRAL multiplatform producer,
Leslie Moreno, WRAL reporter

The Lee County School Board voted schools should require masks for kindergarten through 12th grade students in the upcoming school year.

Staff and employees will also be required to mask up, according to the board's decision. The board voted 5 to 2, with board members Sherry Womack and Pam Sutton voting against.

The Sanford Harold reports Womack initially made a motion to allow masks to be optional for students and staff, but her proposal did not get enough votes. Womack has been vocal about her opposition to shutdowns, supporting the ReOpenNC movement.

She's also the director for the Women for Trump North Carolina chapter.

Only 41% of residents in Lee County are fully vaccinated, state data shows.

Nash County Schools also voted to enact a mask mandate, but my a more narrow margin. The School Board voted, 6-5 on Monday night to pass a mask requirement for the upcoming year.

Many Lee County parents are not happy with the board's decision.

“My granddaughter and grandson do not need to wear a mask,” Donecia Downs said.

Downs has a 9-year-old granddaughter in Lee County schools, she believes her granddaughter would be safer without a mask.

“It’s not the school board's decision to make health decisions for our grandchildren," she said. “They have more resilience, their immune system can handle more than adults can.”

Over a dozen parents spoke in front of the Lee County school board of education, some of whom asked for masks be required.

“I want my kids in school, if it means they wear a mask, I want them in school," one parent said. "I want to be working, I want my kid’s classmates' parents to be working."

It’s a decision many districts have been weighing for weeks.

  • Johnston County Schools decided to make masks optional.
  • Wilson County will require masks.
  • Vance County has a meeting set for Aug. 9 to discuss a mask mandate.

“I don’t think it should be mandated, it should be my daughter's choice to make for her daughter,” Downs said.

On Tuesday, the largest district in the state, Wake County, will meet to discuss their decision on face coverings this upcoming school year.


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