Dare school board takes up masking for second time

Published 1:59 pm Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Today, Wednesday, September 1, 2021, Dare County Board of Education convenes a special called meeting at 5 p.m. at First Flight High School.

The purpose of the meeting is “to review and consider local COVID data since the start of the 2021-2022 school year and local implementation of the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12).”

Before the county’s schools reopened for the new school term, Dare’s school board met to consider several issues. The most controversial decision that August 5 evening was a 6 to 1 vote to open Dare’s schools to optional mask wearing.

By September 1, Dare schools will be open for eight days. The Dare County Schools website provides the information about COVID-19 in the schools daily.

On Aug. 31, 2021, the system total of active student cases was 64 with 387 students in quarantine. At Aug. 27, the number of students enrolled in Dare County students was 5,179. Staff with active cases numbered 10 with nine in quarantine at Aug. 31.

school

Courtesy DCS

The highest number of active cases is 13 at Manteo Elementary with 116 in quarantine; 13 active cases are also at Manteo High School with 39 in quarantine. First Flight Middle School has five cases with 62 in quarantine.

At the September 1 meeting, Farrelly is expected to present an update on school operations.

Dare County is one of few North Carolina school districts to have optional masking in place.

On August 31, the Raleigh News & Observer reported 16 of the 115 school districts in the state continue to permit optional masking. Camden County joins Dare in the optional category.

Before school started, school systems in Hyde and Pasquotank counties followed the Strong Schools toolkit recommendation for universal masking.

In a virtual Zoom meeting, Currituck’s school board reversed its previous decision and unanimously voted for universal masking. Tyrrell County school board reversed its optional decision.

The News & Observer reported that 45 of the 99 school districts calling for universal masking inside schools had reversed initial decisions.

College of The Albemarle is now requiring students to mask indoors. President Jack N. Bagwell wrote to the college community: “We are also seeing more COVID reports on our various campuses than we have previously.”

The letter was dated Aug. 30 and stated: “Effective immediately, masks are required indoors on all COA Campuses. You MUST wear a mask while in any COA building. The College will enforce this masking requirement for all visitors, students, and employees.”

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