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Randolph County Schools to require masks for students and staff starting Monday

Superintendent Dr. Stephen Gainey said the mandate will apply inside school buildings and on school buses.

RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — Randolph County Schools voted 4-3 to require masks for students and staff inside school buildings starting Monday. 

The vote came in Sunday’s special-called meeting.

Randolph County superintendent Dr. Stephen Gainey said students, staff, and visitors will need to wear masks in school buildings and on school buses. He shared a video for the public on the county school's YouTube page following the mandate.

Gainey said staff will not have to wear masks if sitting in an office or classroom alone.

“Our data is getting worse,” he said. “I don’t want to wear (a mask) myself.”

The superintendent said masks will not be required for those participating in extracurricular activities both indoors and outdoors.

"Starting Monday, (elementary) students will be going back to classrooms to eat lunch," Gainey said in Sunday's board meeting.

Masks were previously optional in Randolph County Schools after the school board voted on the decision in mid-July.

Gainey said masks will be required until at least October 15.

Randolph County School board chair Gary Cook said Saturday before the decision, he wanted people to understand the school district is in a tough situation, and the board may have to make difficult decisions to keep kids in schools.

"Basically the number of kids quarantining is a lot higher than we want to see during the first week," Cook said. "My number one priority is keeping kids in school."

The first week of school for Randolph County Schools was this past week, and already nearly 300 students and staff have been quarantined or isolated due to COVID-19 sickness or exposure, Superintendent Stephen Gainey told WFMY News 2.

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