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Mask or no mask? Conflicting guidance about masks in schools

CMS has not announced a decision yet saying in a statement last week that it will follow the directions of state government and health officials.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As the delta variant sweeps the country and moves in the Carolinas, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending masks for all students and staff over the age of two as they prepare to head back to class.  

Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) for schools states masks should be worn indoors by people age two and older who are not fully vaccinated. The Mecklenburg County Health Department is supportive of the CDC's guidance.

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"The reality, especially in our elementary schools, is none of those children have had the opportunity to be vaccinated unless of course they've been part of a study and that's not a lot," said Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County's health director. 

RELATED: 'No excuses, Charlotte': Over 62% of recent COVID-19 positive are delta, StarMed says

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) has not announced a decision yet, saying in a statement last week that it will follow the directions of state government and health officials regarding masks in schools.

"We continue to recommend the masking in the school setting, especially for individuals who have not been fully vaccinated," CMS said. 

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Rowan-Salisbury, Iredell-Statesville, and Union County school districts have all decided masks will be optional for students and staff.

And in South Carolina, a spokesperson for Gov. Henry McMaster said in a statement: 

"Governor McMaster wholeheartedly believes that a child's use of a mask in school is something that should be decided only by the student's parents, and nobody else."

RELATED: Symptoms for the delta variant are different from 'classic' COVID-19 symptoms. Here's what you need to know.

 Contact Kendall Morris at kmorris2@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.  

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