Dueling petitions fuel mask debate in Wake County schools

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Sunday, August 1, 2021
Dueling petitions fuel mask debate in Wake County schools
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Dueling petitions are circulating among parents as Wake County Public School leaders plan to make their decision on mask guidelines in school Tuesday.

APEX, N.C. (WTVD) -- Amy Marshall, a Wake County mother of three, watched as other school districts across the state make masks optional for students and staff. She's now helping to lead the fight against face coverings in Wake.

"It should be a parent choice," said Marshall.

Marshall is president of the recently formed Carolina Teachers Alliance and says she represents more than a hundred educators. She claims there is no legal basis for a mask mandate.

"It's very frustrating," said Marshall argues it would be easier for teachers to teach and children to absorb lessons without a mask. "We're going to see catastrophic learning declines, test scores."

As the Wake County Public School System decision on masks loom, there are dueling petitions circulating to make the choice optional -- more than 3,000 people support keeping masks while more than 2,000 others are pro-choice.

"We have family members who are immunocompromised and it's very important to wear a mask," said fellow Wake County parent Letha Muhammad who is in support of wearing masks.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the second-largest school district in North Carolina, voted Friday to require masks in schools when students return next month, regardless if they have had a vaccination or not.

On Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper, in accordance with the CDC, recommended that students and staff wear masks in K-12 schools.

The Wake County School Board is expected to discuss the issue in a board meeting on the night of Tuesday, Aug. 3.

Marshall says her group is consulting with legal counsel and could potentially take action.

"We're looking to Wake to make that sensible decision," Marshall said.

Wake County Board of Commissioners, and many other localities, announced Friday that all employees and visitors in county buildings must wear face masks starting Monday.