Some parents push for end to mask mandate as Wake County, Raleigh review policy

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County health officials and the mayor of Raleigh will be meeting Tuesday afternoon to dive into the ever-changing COVID-19 conditions and the future of the mask mandate.

"Our staff have continually been reviewing those metrics and the changing COVID conditions and landscape, and are reviewing again this week," said Wake spokesperson Leah Holden.

The latest Wake data shows there have been 211 new hospitalizations in the last week and the positivity rate stands at 19%, which is much higher than the goal of 5%.

Some residents are pushing for a change -- specifically in schools.

"His mental health and his anxiety just went downhill fast," said Wake County parent Jessica Lewis of her son.

She said her second-grader has anxiety and suffers from a syndrome that causes him to become physically ill.

Lewis said he once got sick inside his mask and had to put it back on.

She has been fighting for a medical exemption and said she filed a grievance.

Lewis has taken her son out of school until there is some resolution.

The Wake County School Board recently renewed its policy to require face coverings, although children 5 and younger don't have to wear them.

Lewis said the requirement has a ripple effect.

She said she feels the restrictive measure is taking a toll on children's mental health and it's forcing parents to find therapists for their children.

"We're paying a lot of money, out-of-pocket per session," said Lewis. "It took me a good couple months to find one to get into for him, but I've heard from a lot of parents they're booked way out. You can't even get in."

Through the week ending Jan. 29, the CDC said of the 880,482 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S. only 910 were in those 18 or younger.
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