RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Students and staff in Nash and Lee counties will be required to wear face coverings. Schools boards in both counties met Monday evening and voted in favor of the protocol as COVID-19 cases surge again in North Carolina.

Nash County Public Schools board members were split in a 6-5 vote in favor of requiring face coverings for all students and staff despite vaccination status.

“When you’re thinking about not just your child, but everybody’s child, it is a difficult decision,” Nash County board member Doneva Chavis said. “I say err on the side of caution.”

“If you do fear for your child, I feel for you,” Nash County board member Chris Bissette added. “I could keep rambling on and on, but I think it’s the parents’ choice.”

“Nash County Public Schools is working tirelessly to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and community as we begin the 2021-2022 academic year,” stated Superintendent Dr. Steven Ellis in a statement. “Any mask option will be monitored each month based on consultation with the Nash County Health Department.”

Lee County’s board of education voted 5-2 in favor of requiring students and staff to wear masks in schools. Members Sherry Womack and Pam Sutton were the two dissenting votes. Womack had first called a vote to make masks optional, but it was defeated.

Last week, Johnston County school leaders elected to make masks optional for students.

Wake County has a board of education meeting on Tuesday. A mask mandate is expected to be on the agenda.