Iredell-Statesville Schools to require masks following winter break

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — The Iredell-Statesville School Board voted 6-1 Monday night to require masks in schools starting Jan. 5 when students return from their holiday break. Masks will be required until at least Jan. 14, when the School Board meets for another vote.

This comes after Channel 9 learned Union Grove Elementary in Iredell County had switched to virtual learning this week due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.

The school said 50% of students and staff members either had COVID-19 or were exposed to it.

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The district had ended all mask mandates and contract tracing on Nov. 9, but has since resumed contact tracing. Officials said some students are coming to the school for testing throughout the week.

“We have hundreds of children who are at home right now instead of being in school,” said Boen Nutting, chief of strategic planning for Iredell-Statesville Schools. “It’s because masks are optional in our school district.”

She said that ending the mask mandate is the reason for the move to virtual learning.

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Shepherd Elementary School had similar problems.

“The third grade was hit really hard at Shepherd Elementary,” Nutting said. “Again, almost 50% of the kids were at home instead of school.”

Nutting said she was caught off guard the district re-instated contact tracing and that it must be done.

“We have to contact trace,” she told Channel 9. “If you have a child with COVID-19 and they’re sitting next to someone all day, we have to let those folks know that.”

Union Grove Elementary was planning to resume in-person classes on Dec. 20 if there are no problems.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

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