Will students need to wear masks in Chatham County Schools for the new school year?

By Jessica Winger

Pittsboro, NC – With school starting next month, it is unclear if school children in the state of North Carolina will be required to wear masks for the ’21-’22 school year. The current guidance in the NCDHHS Toolkit, which requires masks for students and staff, was for the previous school year and summer learning. Further guidance has yet to be given for the upcoming school year.

Photo by Ben White

Currently, Only ten states in the US are requiring school children to still wear masks. All other states are leaving the decision up to local school boards and at least five states have banned mandatory masking policies in schools.

Most school boards in NC are awaiting state guidance before deciding on their school’s policy. However, Rowan and Union county schools voted this past week to make masks optional for the upcoming school year. Harnett, Cabarrus and Stanly County Schools all have made it clear it’s their intention during their August school board meetings to vote to make masks optional. Several private and charter schools as well are making their own decisions. Thales Academy recently released a statement that masks are optional for their schools.

With Senate Bill 173 Free the Smiles Act still in discussion between the NC House and Senate, it seems the decision, whether to require masks or not, could soon be given to each school board to decide.

ACTION: The Chatham County School Board needs to know how the parents and community members in our County feel. They need to hear from YOU.

Email the BOE members:

and/or attend the upcoming Chatham County Board of Education meeting on Monday July 19, 5:30 pm at Horton Middle School. Public comments are given at the beginning of the meeting. Any member of the community can speak during public comments. Sign up upon arrival. Each speaker is given 3 minutes. (Tip: Prepare your statement ahead of time and email to  to be included in the minutes)

Thank you for taking time to help families and students in Chatham County Schools. Please consider following the Parents of Chatham County Schools, NC Facebook page which was formed by parents in Chatham county.