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Cabarrus County Schools to hold special meeting next week to discuss masks in schools

Masks have been "strongly recommend" by Gov. Roy Cooper, but North Carolina has not implemented a mandate for schools this fall.

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — The Cabarrus County school board decided to push discussions of a potential mask mandate to next week following an hours-long meeting Monday filled with community input.

Currently, masks are optional within the school district.

Teachers in Cabarrus County held a rally in favor of a mask requirement before Monday's meeting. The "Mask Up Cabarrus" rally was held by the county's chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators, a group urging the board of education to require masks for all students. 

Dozens of neighbors both for and against mandated masks came out to the meeting to voice their opinions.

"I want to be sure that we do everything in our power to keep our students, staff, and community safe," educator Deidra Cantrell said.

Others felt concerned that a mandated mask would impend on the rights of parents. 

"I hope the school board allows parents to have a choice," parent Addul Ali said. "I really hope they don't bend to the will of leftists, and fanatics."

While the district didn't make any decisions on changing masking policy Monday night, the Cabarrus County school board did approve open house protocols, meaning parents will have to make appointments to attend any open houses to meet with teachers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 98 out of 100 North Carolina counties are in the substantial or high COVID-19 spread. The state reported 3,863 new cases Monday and nearly 2,000 people are hospitalized statewide. 

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Earlier this summer, Cabarrus County's board voted to make masks optional this school year. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper strongly recommends masks for students who aren't old enough to be vaccinated and for unvaccinated teens but has not required masks for all schools. 

RELATED: LIST: K-12 schools in Charlotte-area district make masks decisions for students, staff

Last week, Mooresville Graded School District reversed course and required masks after dozens of students were forced to quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19. Previously, the district made masks optional for students and teachers. Monday night, Watauga County Schools, Hickory Public Schools, and Kannapolis City Schools also reversed decisions, deciding instead to require masks. 

RELATED: Here's why experts say 3-feet of social distancing could work in classrooms

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