Thursday, January 27, 2022

New Hanover County Schools reinstates mask mandate ahead of spring semester

(Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — New Hanover County public school students will need to wear masks when they return to classes Thursday from holiday break.

Tuesday night, the board of education voted 5-2 to return to an indoor face-covering mandate rather than an optional policy starting Jan. 6. Athletes actively participating in a sport will not need to wear a mask.

The optional protocol was in place for less than two weeks at the end of the fall semester, following a 4-3 decision on Dec. 7 by the board.

“We need to be proactive,” board member Hugh McManus said. “Two weeks from now, if it goes down, we can revisit. We can revisit tomorrow. But we need to be proactive and not reactive. Our kids need to be in school.”

Board member Pete Wildeboer made a motion to postpone the state-required vote on the mask policy until after the New Hanover County Health and Human Services Board’s public hearing and meeting on potentially enacting another countywide mask mandate Jan. 18.

“I think we should follow their guidance,” Wildeboer said.

But the motion failed. Only Nelson Beaulieu supported the move.

Immediately following Wildeboer’s motion, board member Stefanie Adams said she would not support it and initiated the idea of reinstating the mandate this week “for the safety of our students and staff.” Board member Judy Justice made the motion and was seconded by Adams.

Check back into Port City Daily Wednesday for more coverage on the NHCS meeting.

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Alexandria Sands Williams
Alexandria Sands Williams is a journalist covering the City of Wilmington, education and film. Before Port City Daily, she spent a year in the quaint city of Southport reporting for the award-winning State Port Pilot. Prior to that, she wrote for several Charlotte publications while studying at UNC Charlotte. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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