Masks optional again for Beaufort County Schools students, staff

Published 6:49 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2021

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Starting immediately, masks are again optional for Beaufort County Schools students and staff. During a school board meeting Tuesday, a motion to approve Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman’s recommendation to uphold the district’s mask mandate failed with a 4-5 vote. Masks will still be required on buses, in accordance with state law. Protocols and guidelines presented in the Strong Schools N.C. Public Health Toolkit will still be in effect.

Carolyn Walker, Eltha Booth, E.C. Peed and Michael Bilbro voted in favor Cheeseman’s recommendation. Terry Draper, Butch Oliver, T.W. Allen, Terry Williams and Mac Hodges voted against it.

Per Senate Bill 654, all North Carolina public school boards are required to vote monthly on whether to uphold their respective mask policies.

In July, the board voted unanimously to make mask optional for all students and staff. But with COVID-19 metrics rising at an alarming rate, the board reversed course and voted in August to implement a mask mandate for all students and staff. In September, the first meeting with S.B. 654 in effect, the board voted 5-4 to keep the mandate in place.