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Masks are now optional in Davie County Schools. Staff members to get $1,000 bonus. Pay bumped for bus drivers.
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Masks are now optional in Davie County Schools. Staff members to get $1,000 bonus. Pay bumped for bus drivers.

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The Davie County Board of Education voted unanimously to make mask-wearing optional in its schools at its monthly meeting Tuesday.

Superintendent Jeff Wallace recommended lifting the mask mandate based in part on conversations with superintendents in districts with no mask mandate.

Masks must still be worn on buses. In addition, some coaches have told Wallace that they may ask their athletes to continue to wear masks in locker rooms as a way to curb the spread of COVID-19. Wallace said he would support those coaches.

“That’s where it could be a potential problem. You bust your bottom all week for a game, you don’t want something like that to mess it up,” Wallace said.

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The school district will monitor the number of quarantines and positive COVID cases and make recommendations to change its policy if needed, Wallace said.

Davie County Schools has 6,000 students. There are currently no clusters among its K-12 students, but Wallace said a pre-kindergarten classroom reported seven positive cases among children and adults last week.

The school board voted to make masks optional in July. As the Delta variant spread, it reversed course. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ guidelines for public schools call for mandatory masking inside school buildings.

Under a state law passed in September, the state’s school boards must have a public vote on its masking policy each month.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools voted last week to keep its mask mandate in place.

The Davie County school board also voted to give all its employees a $1,000 retention bonus with federal COVID relief dollars. The bonus will be divided in two $500 payments. In addition, the board set minimum bus driver pay to $15 an hour and gave all other bus drivers a 2% raise.



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