Carteret County school board calls special meeting to consider revisions to safety protocols

The Carteret County Board of Education will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the media center of East Carteret High School to consider revised health protocols for the 2021-22 academic year. (Cheryl Burke photo)

BEAUFORT — The Carteret County Board of Education will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the media center of East Carteret High School to consider revised health protocols for the 2021-22 academic year.

School officials, in a special notice regarding the meeting, stated they would discuss revised protocols “in light of the August 10, 2021 revisions to the (N.C. Department of Health and Human Services) StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12).”

The StrongSchools NC Toolkit establishes safety guidelines school districts should follow regarding COVID-19. Those guidelines are now stating staff and students in grades kindergarten through 12 should wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.

The Carteret County Board of Education voted July 28 to make masks optional for students and staff for the new school year. Since then, there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases in the county and state due to the delta variant.

Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials sent a letter, dated Aug. 12, to Carteret County Board of Education Chairperson Clark Jenkins and other school officials in districts that have not mandated mask-wearing for 2021-22 urging them to reconsider their decision.

The letter, signed by Gov. Cooper, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and State Health Director Dr. Betsy Tilson, states, “Because children under 12 cannot yet get a vaccine and the percent of children 12-18 years old who are vaccinated is low, all students, teachers and staff in grades K-12 should wear masks in schools regardless of vaccination status.”

Friday, the Carteret County Health Department reported there were 74 new COVID-19 cases confirmed since Thursday and one additional hospitalization, making 20 cases at Carteret Health Care. There were 264 cases considered active in the county on Friday. The county reported its 60th COVID-related death Wednesday.


Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

(11) comments

David Collins

Here it comes , can you say “about face” .


For the overall health and mental well being of the students please don’t change things at what is essentially now the 99th hour. Allow parents and staff to choose to wear a mask. Or not wear a mask.


I do hope they require masks. The kids didn't mind them at all last year, and it'll give us the best shot at keeping our schools open and in-person.

I get wanting to exercise your freedoms, but we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Perhaps people could do something for the good of the community instead of stomping around like a bunch of snowflakes.

More masks is less spread. Less spread is more open schools, more open businesses, fewer people in the hospital, fewer people dying.

The cost/benefit judgement in a good chunk of our country seems to be exceptionally out of touch with our current reality.


Total COVID documented deaths among 0-17 year olds from the beginning of the pandemic until 8/11/21 (approximately 17 months) = 354

Total influenza deaths among 0-17 year olds in the 2017-2018 influenza season (duration of about 7 months) = 643.

Source for both data points = CDC published reports.

Remember when all the news reported the flu season deaths and masks were donned in schools that year and sports seasons were put on hold and amusement venues were shuttered. Me neither.

This is an argument based on data (from a source other than the news - irrespective of the political leaning) and mental health (for which we won’t know the impact of all the on again off again mandates for years to come). I’ll leave it to others to make the “freedom” argument.


My children DID have a problem wearing masks last year! I don’t like when people think they know how kids feel or should feel. My kids did not like wearing them and one had a hard time breathing in them especially on the bus because there’s no air conditioning and the heat was … in their words… unbearable. The board should not change their mind at last minute! You made the decision and you should keep it. This is all coming about because there’s no virtual learning this year and parents that can’t get virtual learning are angry that masks are optional. I know plenty of parents that are happy with the decision of optional masks as well as myself and many children I know are happy about it as well. Studies have shown that masks truly don’t work! Keep your decision as is!


Let's follow the science here. Masks are useless to stop a virus, Children are the least susceptible to the effects of the virus. There is NO test for the "delta" variant, or any other. PCR test is discontinued due to massive failure rate. Medical tyranny is a tool with an agenda.


They need to have remote learning, mask requirements will not do any good if students are stuffed like cattle in a small space.


Pediatric doctors at the Mayo clinic seem to think masks don't have negative effects on children and are helpful.


No one asked my kids how they felt about masks. I will NEVER trust another poll or study. I have never been asked. My kids have never been asked. So how do they know how it impacts all kids?


Let me ask my kids what course of treatment they'd prefer for XYZ disease. Oh, that's a terrible idea because kids don't know how to keep themselves safe and treat themselves because they're not doctors?

See the mayo clinic data I posted above.

We grow oh very tired of the antivaxers and people failing to use common sense to protect themselves and their community.


Thanks but no thanks

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