School district requires masks after increasing number of Covid cases

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POLK COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA)- The Polk County School District board voted 5-2 on Tuesday night in favor of a mandatory mask mandate.

It starts September 8, and the district has not publicized when it’s going to end.

They attribute the new mandate to clusters of Covid in their classrooms, staffing issues, and having to temporarily close some schools.

The district says it will only apply when students and staff are inside not eating or drinking.

Students and staff will also get mask breaks where they can go outside and remove them and they won’t be required to wear them when exercising.

Heather Hernandez lives in Polk County, and has a preschooler of her own.

Hernandez said, “Children being around family you don’t know who is vaccinated and who isn’t. We’re just all in contact with so many people throughout the day it’s easy to catch.”

She says the mask mandate is the best thing the district can do.

“With children now getting it more often with this variant as well,” Hernandez said.

Polk County School District sent us a statement:

Over the first two weeks of this academic year Polk County Schools encountered an increasing number of positive cases among students and some staff, resulting in significant impacts related to quarantining and illness.  Due to the staffing shortages and related impacts of COVID, we had to discontinue classes for a couple of days to regain staff and services.  Given the current state health guidelines for handling positive cases and quarantining, my recommendation to the Board of Education was to approve a temporary mask requirement to hopefully reduce spread and to significantly reduce the impact of quarantining.  In voting to approve the temporary requirement the Board wanted to make it clear our main goal was to keep as many students in school as possible, and to keep our schools open.  The Board will receive regular COVID impact updates and will revisit this decision on at least a monthly basis.

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