After further investigation into the policy by Yadkin school leaders, masks will now be required by all students riding on buses. There was much discussion about this topic during Monday’s meeting of the Yadkin County School Board with parents and board members weighing in that mask wearing should be up the parents to decide if their student will wear one at school.
In a presentation to the board, school leaders did recommend that masks be required on the buses due to lack of ability to properly social distance. There was a lengthy discussion, with much concern revolving around student athletes, but the board ultimately voted to have masks be optional by all students and staff on school property and on the buses.
On Thursday School Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin said after further research it was determined that there is a federal order in place that supersedes any state or local decision in regard to mask wearing while on buses.
“We are going to require face coverings while riding our buses,” Martin said.
Students at the Yadkin Early College will also be required to wear masks as their campus is part of the Surry Community College campus which is requiring face coverings.
Several parents spoke during the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting encouraging the board to pursue a mask-optional policy.
“I want the students safe but not at the expense of our kid’s education,” said Lynn Wagner. Wagner said the focus on masking and social distancing measures last year was a detriment to the education process.
“Their learning was totally comprised,” she said.
The mask optional policy at all Yadkin schools, except the Early College, will mean that if a student tests positive for COVID-19, other unmasked students sitting near that child in a classroom or on the bus will be required to quarantine for 10 days.
“Parents need to understand that, if you send your kid to school with a mask on there is less risk of being quarantined for 10 days,” said Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin during the School Board meeting.
The school system will still keep students distanced by 3-feet whenever possible but temperature checks will no longer be required as students enter school for the day. It was noted that the temperature checks were time consuming and did little to determine possible illness before students entered the buildings.
Jessica Wall, director of Yadkin County Human Services, said during the meeting that there is “a rapid increase in community spread which is going to cause this rapid increase in case count.”
Near the end of the discussion on the mask policy at the meeting, Martin noted that the increasing case counts could cause problems and the board may have to revise its mask-optional policy.
“If this decision blows up and we’re quarantining classroom after classroom and closing schools and things like that then we may have to look at this whole thing differently,” Martin said.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-258-4035 or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @news_shewrote.