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Charlotte-area school boards make face covering decisions at meetings

According to NCDHHS, the positivity rate in North Carolina is now up to 32.3%, which is an increase from the previous two weeks.

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — As the state of North Carolina continues to see an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases, three North Carolina school districts in the Charlotte area met Monday night to discuss mask policies.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), the positivity rate in North Carolina is now up to 32.3%, which is an increase from the previous two weeks.

Cabarrus County

Masks will remain required for students, staff and faculty within the Cabarrus County Schools district. 

Leaders voted on Monday, Jan. 24, to continue to have masks required until Feb. 7. That is the date for the Cabarrus County Schools Board of Education's next work session meeting. 

The vote passed 4-3 and came after an initial votes for masks required and masks optional failed by the same margin.

During the next work session meeting, the board will also continue to look through a presentation created by the district's COVID-19 task force. There are currently four metrics in place to decide whether masks are required or optional. The recommendation was made to also include weekly staff quarantines. No action was taken on item during the Jan. 24 meeting. 

On Jan. 10, 2022, the board decided to make masks mandatory from Jan. 13-24. 

As a result of an increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the Carolinas, the school board also decided to reinstate NCDHHS 'test-to-stay' option. This option presented by NCDHHS said that a person can still attend school only in the case where a person is exposed to COVID-19 and gets tested the day of being notified of exposure, tested again five days later, wears a mask for 10 days and stays home when not attending school. 

Catawba County

The Catawba County Board of Education voted on Monday, Jan. 24, to make masks optional effective Jan. 25 inside all school facilities for students, staff and faculty. 

Officials say this will remain in effect until it is reviewed again at the Feb. 28. Masks will still be required on all CCS buses, per CDC guidelines.  

RELATED: Catawba County Schools discontinues written notification of COVID exposure citing the administrative strain

Burke County

Burke County Public Schools will go with a masks optional policy effective Tuesday, Jan. 25. The board attempted to vote three times of policies, twice on masks required and once on masks optional, and each tied 3-3. Since no vote passed, the district will go masks optional since the previous mandate was set to end on Monday, Jan. 24.

As of Jan. 17, 2022, the school board's COVID-19 dashboard said there were only 135 positive cases with a total of 190 staff and students in quarantine. 

Rowan-Salisbury Schools 

The Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education voted unanimously on Monday, Jan. 24, to remain masks optional.

WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions reporting on and engaging the community around the problems and solutions as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.