(GDN) — Masks will once again be optional in Wayne County Public Schools.
In January, the school board had decided that any Wayne County Public School that exceeded an 8% exclusion rate would have to return to mandatory masking.
On Thursday, the Wayne County Board of Education voted to return to optional masking following a developing trend seen across the state and nation as new cases of COVID-19 decline.
Masks will be optional in WCPS buildings on Monday, February 21st.
Superintendent Dr. David Lewis also informed the board there have been two major changes to the NCDHHS StrongSchools Toolkit that take effect on Monday.
The first change means individual contact tracing is no longer required.
The second change means WCPS no longer has to exclude asymptomatic people even after they have been identified as close contacts to someone with COVID-19.
All students and staff who have been excluded from school but are asymptomatic may now return to campus on Monday, February 21st.
The vote to return to strictly masks-optional was 5-2.
Due to federal mandates, masks are still required on school buses