Move comes after several hours of public comment
After more than two hours of public comment addressing everything from the district’s mask mandate to the national controversy surrounding Critical Race Theory, the Dare County Board of Education voted 5-2 at its Nov. 9 meeting to continue requiring face coverings for students, employees and visitors in an effort to reduce COVID-19 cases and quarantines.
Board members Joe Tauber and Carl Woody voted against the motion made by Board Member Margaret Lawler to make no modifications to the policy. Under state law, North Carolina school boards must vote each month on their face covering policies.
Schools Superintendent John Farrelly, who recommended that the policy stay in place, told the board that 93 of the state’s 115 school districts still have universal mask mandates.
According to the latest Dare County Department of Health and Human Services data, there are currently 17 active COVID cases among the district’s students, with 33 of them quarantined. There are also 4 active cases among school staffers with 1 quarantine.
In a related matter, the board voted unanimously to not require athletes to wear face coverings during competition in indoor sports including wrestling, basketball, indoor track and cheerleading. Athletes, while not competing, as well as spectators and visitors, are required to wear face coverings during events.
While the public comment portion of recent board meetings this fall has been dominated by members of the public speaking out against the district’s mask mandate, the majority of speakers and public comments submitted via email during the Nov. 9 meeting commended the board for requiring face coverings in district schools.