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Mask mandate extended for Rowan-Salisbury Schools after spike in COVID-19 cases

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education's special-called meeting saw the mandate extended until it can be reviewed on Oct. 11

SALISBURY, N.C. — The members of the Rowan-Salisbury School Board have chosen to extend a mandatory mask mandate in all schools after a surge in COVID-19 cases.

According to data that was presented during the Board of Education meeting Monday, COVID-19 cases among students climbed to 282. The week prior, there were 94 positive students; the week before that, there were 3.

A similar increase happened among students who are in quarantine. The same presentation revealed there were 3192 students in quarantine as of Aug. 27. The week prior there were 1878; the week before that there were 271.

Positive cases and quarantines among staff doubled in the same time period.

When Rowan-Salisbury schools started on Aug. 11, masks were not required. That changed one week into the start of school after what the health director called an “explosion of cases.”

The school board originally voted at the emergency meeting on Aug. 18 to make masks mandatory for teachers and students for two weeks, despite the health director’s beliefs that the requirement should be in place for longer. On Aug. 30, the mandate was extended until at least Oct. 11, when the board can review the decision at the end of the first quarter.

RELATED: An 'explosion of cases' of COVID-19 among kids in Rowan County

The superintendent was expected to call for the mask mandate to be extended at the special meeting, according to a memo to the board. The memo from superintendent Tony Watlington and April Kuhn - the chief student services and compliance officer - called for the mask mandate to remain in place until that date.

RELATED: 1,837 in quarantine, 176 test positive after one week of school in Union County

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