Lincoln Charter School will now require masks for students, teachers and staff. On a 5-3 vote the LCS Board made the decision Monday evening (Aug. 23rd) that makes masks mandatory for all individuals (staff, students, visitors, vendors) for the next 30 days. This will go in effect immediately and will terminate September 28th unless the LCS Board reconsiders the matter based on any changes in recommendations from Lincoln County Health Director Davin Madden.
Madden had sent a request to all schools in Lincoln County last Wednesday (August 18th) asking them to reinstate a mask mandate because of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
Lincoln County Schools had already gone to 'masks required' under an administrative decision following Madden's request. The Lincoln County Schools Board of Education had adopted a 'masks optional' policy in late July and continued that after a special meeting on August 3rd and their regular meeting August 10th on a 4-3 vote. The mask requirement for Lincoln County Schools will last at least until the board meets again in early September.
The Catawba County Board of Education decided not to change its 'masks optional' policy at its meeting Monday evening. By a 4-3 vote, the board decided there will be no changes to current operating procedures. Face coverings will remain optional for all staff, students, and visitors.
Catawba County Schools online Catawba K-12 Virtual Academy is at capacity, so they won't be able to accommodate any changes to in-person learning.
Almost 70 community members and students spoke during the public hearing section of the Catawba County meeting, and Jennifer McCracken, Director of Catawba County Public Health, gave an update on the COVID-19 metrics in the county, which like all of North Carolina has seen a sharp increase in cases and an increase in hospitalizations over the last few weeks.
The discussion at the Lincoln Charter School board meeting lasted an hour and a half. Of those who spoke or emailed comments to the meeting, the number favoring 'masks optional' slightly outnumbered those who favored a mask mandate. Lincoln Charter had already changed to requiring masks for teachers and other staff after experiencing multiple cases of COVID at both campuses.
Newton-Conover Schools is maintaining a 'masks optional' policy while Hickory City Schools decided earlier this month to require masks. Lincoln County's Westlake Preparatory Academy told us last week they are continuing 'masks optional.'