Union County School Board decides to make masks optional for upcoming school year

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — The Union County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to make masks optional starting Aug 1.

Some parents told Channel 9 that masks should be mandatory for every child this upcoming school year, while others agreed with the board’s decision.

Vaccinated teachers and students don’t need to wear masks inside schools, according to new guidance from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

The issue involves students of all ages, especially for students in elementary schools, where kids are not old enough yet to be vaccinated.

Some parents said they’re worried their children may not be safe in a school where masks aren’t required.

Nine-year-old Robert Brown has severe asthma and has spent the last year-and-a-half learning remotely.

“When he gets sick with any kind of chest cold, it spirals quickly into pneumonia and he has to go into all kinds of treatments,” said his mom, Elena Brown. “And that’s just a risk I’m not willing to take -- him getting COVID.”

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“I believe it’s OK for the kids to go mask-less, as long as they’re practicing social distancing,” another parent, Jennifer Mullis, said.

She will be sending her 11-year-old daughter to middle school and will remind her to be careful.

“We’re not asking for masks all year,” Mullis said. “We’re just asking for masks until parents of children have the opportunity, the choice to get their children vaccines.”

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Truly, truly loved’: Union County school staff member dies after 3-month battle with COVID-19)