OCS to discuss mask policy at upcoming school board meeting; citizens and parents voice concerns

School Watch

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Onslow County Schools’ Board of Education will meet Tuesday at 6 pm for its monthly meeting, and the topic of masks is on the agenda.  

OCS is among a few districts left in North Carolina that still have a mask optional policy for students, despite COVID-19 numbers in the county continuing to rise. County leaders say right now they have about 508 positive COVID cases in school-aged children in the county. 

“Our numbers again continue to rise. Specifically with regard to the age group that the school board is interested in,” said Assistant County Manager Sheri Slater. 

Officials say these numbers don’t count for any positives that might come back from later last week or over the Labor Day weekend. The overall percentage of children positive in Onslow County since the beginning of the pandemic through July was anywhere between 5 to 15 percent.  

Now, since August, county leaders say that number is at 32%.  

“Our percent positive though for our numbers of those tests that are coming back positive is still 14.7%, which is higher than the state average,” said Slater.

You can watch the Onslow County Schools meeting here. It begins at 6 p.m.

A group of parents will talk to the school board Tuesday night about their concerns, including claims that the school board isn’t providing numbers on how many children are currently infected and quarantined. 

“They keep saying it’s a privacy issue. That’s what they’re using, not to give us the numbers. But we haven’t asked for any child’s name. We just want numbers,” said Onslow County resident Kelly Kantz. 

Third-grade teacher and parent Sarah Arnold said she will be attending the meeting Tuesday night as well. She said a lot of the teachers are leaning heavily towards having the masks enforced again.  

“I personally would prefer masks to be enforced and that speaking both as a parent of a small child and as an educator,” said Arnold.  

Overall, county leaders want everyone to be careful with the rising COVID-19 numbers. 

“We just want to remind everyone to take all the precautions that are available to them and to be careful,” said Slater. 

9OYS will have continuing coverage of the school board’s decision.  

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