Wake County Schools maintaining mask mandate for next school year amid conflicting recommendations

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- There are conflicting recommendations about mask-wearing in schools and it's leading to confusion among parents.

The CDC recently said that fully vaccinated students, teachers and other staff don't have to wear masks in school next year.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and a Duke pediatrician feel mask-wearing is a step crucial to keep kids safe.

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends universal masking in schools for everyone older than 2

"If you look at all the bad transmission events that have happened in schools, it's in schools were masking wasn't happening," said Duke Health Pediatrician Dr. Tony Moody.

Some parents are taking a strong position in the debate.

"Why are we issuing these kids to wear masks when they don't have to do that when they go to Target?" said Holly Springs parent Brian Groesser.

He has three children in the Wake County School District and they'll soon be returning to the classroom.

Groesser says there was a time it was important for people to wear masks to the slow the spread of the virus. He feels it's not necessary now for kids to wear face coverings. He believes the risk just isn't there.

"Why are we masking these kids up under 12 other than public theater? If it's science, show me the data," said Groesser.

The most recent statewide data over a week timespan shows there was an average of two kids hospitalized per day. There was an average of 48 adults hospitalized per day over the same period.

Wake told ABC11 students will be required to wear masks.

Spokesperson Lisa Luten explains the decision isn't up to district leaders, but that Wake is following state law.

Some other districts are taking a different stance.

Union and Rowan-Salisbury are bucking state law. The boards have voted to make masks optional.

Groesser commends their actions.

"I think it's a local issue," he said. "The schools boards know what's best for their particular districts."

Some parents are hoping to persuade Wake to drop the mask mandate.

The Free the Smile rally is taking back Tuesday at 5 p.m. outside the Wake County Board of Education meeting.

FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.