By Emily Walkenhorst, WRAL acquisition reporter
Lillington, N.C. — The Harnett County schoolhouse committee volition clasp an exigency gathering Thursday greeting to code COVID-19 information protocols.
Unlike each different schoolhouse territory successful the WRAL sum area, the committee voted not to necessitate students and unit to deterioration masks this schoolhouse year.
It’s unclear conscionable yet what COVID-19 protocols volition beryllium discussed.
In caller weeks, since the authorities near disguise requirements up to schoolhouse boards, schoolhouse districts crossed North Carolina person held some regular and exigency meetings to either institute a disguise mandate oregon marque masks optional.
Mask mandates by schoolhouse system
In a quality league Wednesday, Gov. Roy Cooper said helium hoped the committee would reverse its determination to marque masks optional but said helium would not reinstate a statewide disguise mandate.
Harnett County has 1 of the lowest rates of vaccinations successful the state, conscionable 30%.
In Orange County, with the astir radical afloat vaccinated, it’s astatine 76%.
Some parents person told WRAL News they’re disquieted astir the county's lag.
In the past fewer days, the presumption has received respective emails from acrophobic parents successful Harnett County.
Now, the schoolhouse committee has called an exigency gathering for Thursday, and galore parents anticipation members alteration their minds.
That includes Patty Rowland, who has 2 sons astatine Harnett Primary School. They're 8 and 10 years old.
With the COVID-19 Delta variant connected the rampage, Rowland said, it's irresponsible for schoolhouse leaders not to mandate masks.
“Because I don’t consciousness similar they’re protecting children to the fullest extent,” she said. “My children are excessively young to person the vaccine, truthful they don’t person the enactment to beryllium vaccinated.”
On Aug. 2, the Harnett County schoolhouse committee voted 4-1 to springiness students and unit the enactment to deterioration masks.
Board subordinate Jason Lemons told WRAL News helium thinks that parents "can champion marque the choice" astir masks for their children.
But Rowland said that's not bully enough.
“I consciousness similar my children, if they deterioration the mask, they volition support others,” she said. “But if others bash not deterioration the masks, they’re not afloat protecting my children.”
The Harnett County Board of Education was the archetypal successful North Carolina to marque masks optional. They did truthful backmost successful June, erstwhile the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services was inactive requiring them.
Lemons said summertime schoolhouse was "very successful" with masks optional, and helium voted to support the argumentation successful place.
But helium said since the board's vote, determination has been "a tremendous magnitude of changes successful the COVID realm."
He stopped abbreviated of saying whether members volition ballot to necessitate masks astatine the exigency meeting, but helium says the committee has ever been unfastened to changing the policy.
District officials accidental they're doing other sanitizing and pursuing national wellness guidelines.
“We tin effort to bash the champion we tin with cleaning and societal distancing,” Rowland said. “But successful the simple schools, those are smaller children, and they’re going to beryllium grouped together, and they’re going to beryllium close. And without the masks, each those germs are going to beryllium flowing.”
WRAL News spoke connected the telephone with 2 different schoolhouse committee members, including the chairman, Eddie Jaggers. They declined interviews.
Jaggers said he's received galore calls and emails from radical connected some sides of the contented and did not privation to accidental thing earlier the exigency meeting, which is acceptable for 8:30 a.m.