Roanoke County School Board votes 4-1 to make masks optional beginning Feb. 14

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 1:27 AM EST
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ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - More than a hundred people filed into the Roanoke County Public Schools Central Office Thursday night.

Close to 70 speakers gave emotional responses in favor or against the mask mandate in schools, lasting more than three and a half hours in public comment period.

“You have created an educational environment that most kids can’t stand to be in some days because of the harassment and the requirements,” said one student.

“We want to keep all of the students, the teachers and the administration safe, and it’s worked in the past and we have the numbers to prove it and is something so easy,” said Jo Ann Foster, the mother of a 7th grader at Northside Middle School.

“It’s time to stop refusing parents their right,” said one speaker.

“I’m now asking you to protect mine, to protect my coworkers, and to be safe and keep our emergency system afloat,” said a parent and physician in the Roanoke community.

The public meeting began at 6 p.m. and close to 11 p.m., School Board members made the 4-1 decision to make masks optional in Roanoke County Public Schools starting Feb. 14. Cave Spring District Representative Mike Wray was the only member to vote against.

Some parents wanted the decision to take affect as soon as Friday. mainly frustrated with the early January decision to make masks optional, then a reversal just two days later. The School Board believes the February 14 start date will help Roanoke County Public Schools as whole prepare for the change.

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