Masks Will Be Required In Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools For The Upcoming School Year

The Latest:

Masks will be required in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for the 2021-2022 school year.  The CMS Board of Education passed the vote 8-1.  This means all students, staff, volunteers, and visitors will be required to wear masks while inside schools and on buses.

The mask mandate will be reviewed at the end of each quarter to see if it can be revised.  Officials will use local COVID-19 data and metrics each quarter to help make the decision to remain masked up or to reverse the decision.

Sean Strain is the only board member to vote against wearing masks.

Unlike last year, students will not be provided a remote learning option when quarantined due to COVID-19.  Watch the full CMS Board of Education meeting here:

Original Story:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston is recommending students and staff be required to wear masks when school starts next month.

The school board will make its decision on Friday morning.

This would be a different policy than nearly every other school district in our area. Most are making masks optional.

But a mask policy would go along with the CDC’s recommendation and the advice of Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris.

“Yeah, I think it’s better for everybody,” says rising East Mecklenburg High School Junior Anthony Elias.

Elias is excited to return to the classroom next month, in person. But he says he prefers to go back wearing a mask.

“Most families still haven’t taken the COVID vaccine yet, and I think it’s better for everybody,” Elias says.

Superintendent Earnest Winston sent board members a letter on Thursday citing the latest CDC data and the rise over the Delta variant, writing the district’s leadership team, “…recommends approving universal face covering requirements for all students, staff, volunteers, and visitors…”

“It is very well vetted. The superintendent has done a quick turn around since all the news that’s been developing this week,” says school board chair Elyse Dashew.

Dashew says her number one priority is making sure students are able to learn in person this year.

“We’ve got to do everything we can to avoid sending kids home if they’ve been exposed, and if everyone’s wearing masks then we don’t have to do that as much,” Dashew says.

CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston is also recommending any mask requirement be reviewed at the end of each academic quarter or if local COVID metrics change.