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Cornelius News

Governor calls for masks at all times in elementary, middle schools

Gov. Cooper at July 21 press conference

July 21. With COVID-19 numbers in the US and North Carolina spiking due to the Delta variant, Gov. Roy Cooper is calling on elementary and middle schools to require masks indoors.

“This pandemic is not behind us yet,” Cooper said. “We will continue to listen to experts. If the pandemic worsens and additional action is necessary, we will take it.”

COVID spike

NC Dept. of Health & Human Services today reported 1,434 new cases of COVID-19 statewide, up 64.6 percent from yesterday’s gain. Hospitalizations also rose 22 to 694 statewide.

Cooper said students and teachers in grades kindergarten through eight should wear masks regardless of vaccination status.

High schools should ensure that anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated, including students, wear a mask indoors.

State of emergency remains in effect

The governor’s state of emergency will remain in effect, but Executive Order 220 expires at the end of July. Businesses and other entities where masks are required will be able to make their own decisions about requiring masks, with strong guidance provided by NCDHHS.

Cooper said everyone, regardless of vaccine status, should still wear a mask in certain places such as public transportation and healthcare facilities.

‘Get vaccines’

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said the benefits of in-person schooling outweigh the risks. She said roughly 75 percent of most high schools are going to be completely unvaccinated.

Dr. Mandy Cohen

“Got to get vaccines. Absolute, No. 1 prevention, and if not, making sure folks are wearing masks,” she said.

It’s still unclear whether Charlotte-Mecklenburg School will follow the governor’s strongly worded advice. CMS classes start Aug. 25.