“NCHSAA staff members have received additional reports of volleyball teams being quarantined, which we know will impact their first contests next week. Collectively we must do everything we can to mitigate against the continuing spread of COVID-19, and it is our belief that the above steps will assist those efforts.”
EAST ELLIJAY, Ga. – Step by step, little by little, Gilmer County is lifting restrictions and slowly moving back to far more casual life. Leaving behind masks and other PPE, the entire nation is taking steps as people are returning to sports arenas and school events like proms and graduations are showcasing the step back to life without certain constraints.
This week saw Gilmer’s Board of Education take another step on that same path as requests came for the board to lift the mandate for masks on buses.
This mandate has been in place all school year since Gilmer welcomed students back into class with the options for in-person or virtual learning. Now, a week before graduation, the board unanimously agreed that the time has come to step back from such restrictions. This does not mean you won’t see masks anymore. Superintendent Dr. Shanna Downs made note that lifting the mandate only means they are optional now. Each student and parent are still the ones talking about the choice. According to Downs, many students do still wear the masks and have their own ready.
Downs said that many drivers have noted that students who don’t wear masks throughout the day will tend to forget them in a classroom. Bus drivers have some available, but the need for more has gone up as more students have laid down their masks throughout their standard day.
Board member Ronald Watkins, who has voiced opinions in favor of personal choice before, commented in the work session saying, “I say let them take them off.” Watkins advocated in favor of the request as he said to give the kids the option to wear them or not.
When questioned, Downs said that she has seen more masks used in elementary levels as opposed to higher grades.
While some comments were made among the board that this is only taking effect in the final days of this school year, it does set an indication as to what the board plans moving forward. As of now, this means that masks will continue to be optional on buses into the next school year.
Of course, should things change, the Board could always reinstate, but for now, it is 5-0 vote for lifting the mandate and allowing students and parents to make their choice on masks.
When you enter a High School gym in North Carolina, things will look a lot different than what you have become accustomed to if you have been to sporting events in Tennessee or Georgia.
Not only will the coaches and fans be wearing masks, now the players will be wearing them too.
In an email sent out yesterday to North Carolina High School Athletic Association members, the association announced that players are required to wear face masks during practices and contests, beginning Monday.
Previously, athletes were not required to wear masks when they were actively competing or practicing.
The NCHSAA also said a student with a medical condition that would not allow them to wear a face mask during competition would need medical clearance from a licensed doctor.
Que Tucker, the NCHSAA commisioner wrote in the email:
This decision has been a long time coming, and I would expect it to overflow into sports and activities that are not just inside.
The NCHSAA has already made it known that North Carolina High School sporting events will only be allowed 25 fans total. Most schools are only allowing home team parents.