Chatham County schools to go to optional masking on March 7

Pittsboro, NC – The Chatham County Board of Education in a special called session Thursday, Feb. 24, voted 4-1 to affirm its plan and timeline to transition to optional masking inside school buildings beginning Monday, March 7, 2022.

This decision came after consultation with the state Department of Health and Human Services, the Chatham County Public Health Department, and the ABC Science Collaborative based on the rapidly declining number of COVID-19 cases in our community.

The board approved a framework for transitioning to optional masking at its Feb. 14 meeting.  The approved framework allowed optional masking for student-athletes, coaches and athletic event spectators beginning Feb. 15. “That transition has gone smoothly,” said Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson. The framework affimed implementation of the recommendation by DHHS to end contact tracing and isolation for asymptomatic individuals beginning Feb. 21, 2022. 

The final component of the framework is to begin allowing optional masking in classrooms beginning Monday, March 7, 2022.  Masking on school transportation is still required. This is a federal mandate.

Staff and families wishing to get vaccinated or needing to get a booster are strongly encouraged to do so.  Vaccines are readily available throughout the community.  “We are pleased to see our data trending in the current direction,” Jackson said. “For those families who have been asking for this, we are pleased that we have reached this milestone. For faculty, staff or students wishing to continue wearing masks, you are welcome to. We will continue working with our local health department to monitor local trends and reserve the right to revisit these protocols if metrics deem appropriate to do so in the future.”

Chatham County school Board member David Hamm voted against the optional masking motion presented at the February 14 school board meeting.