NC’s 2 largest school systems adopt mask-optional policies

North Carolina’s two largest school districts have agreed to make masks optional for students and staff indoors starting early next month, in line with Gov. Roy Cooper’s recent recommendation to end the terms of mask.

The Wake County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg school boards voted separately on Tuesday to drop their blanket COVID-19 mask requirements starting March 7, media reported. The two districts together educate approximately 300,000 students.

March 7 is the date that new K-12 school guidelines from health officials in the Cooper administration encouraging term-ends go into effect.

At least 88 of the state’s 115 K-12 school districts have now voted for mask-optional policies, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. The number of districts with such policies has increased dramatically recently as COVID-19 transmission rates have plummeted, following Cooper’s announcement last week.

A bill approved by the General Assembly and on Cooper’s desk would allow parents to allow their students to opt out of mask mandates that local school boards still have in place. Cooper has until Sunday night to sign or veto the bill, or it will become law without his signature.

Local school boards have been required this school year to establish mask policies and vote on them monthly.

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