The Roanoke Rapids Board of Trustees has revised its decision regarding masks making them required for all students and staff regardless of vaccination status. The Board also approved to opt into on-site COVID-19 testing for staff and students. Testing would be done only with parental permission and on an as needed basis as requested by the individual and determined by the school.
The Board decided to reverse its previous decision after reflecting on the state requirements forcing entire classrooms to quarantine without mask requirements if one student develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID.
“By implementing a mandatory mask mandate, we can mitigate the number of student quarantines,” said Dr. Mike Williams, Trustee.
Trustee Joey Briggs cited a South Carolina district that had to quarantine over 500 students due to positive cases on campus.
“It's not a matter of if, but when. It’s going to happen to us. If a student tests positive at Roanoke Rapids High for example at the end of the day. That’s over 100 kids who have to quarantine,” said Briggs.
School nurse Sarah Davis expressed concern over staff as well. ‘We’ve already had two fully vaccinated staff members get COVID symptoms. One tested positive and one tested negative.”
The mask policy will be effective beginning Wednesday, August 18, 2021.