Parents, educators have questions about over Governor Cooper’s school mask guidance

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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WWAY) — Cape Fear parents are raising questions and have concerns over Governor Roy Cooper’s new school guidance.

The state’s new guidance urges schools to mandate mask requirements in Kindergarten through eighth grade schools, along with the unvaccinated in high schools.

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When pressed by reporters today during his press conference, Cooper would not discuss repercussions if schools districts do not comply with the guidance.

“There’s not a hard core yes or no that they have to have masks on, it’s encouraged,” says Monty Hobbs, a parent of a nine-year-old boy getting ready to start fourth grade. “So I would love to see the fine lining.”

Earlier today, Dr. Mandy Cohen said the goal is to keep students in-person this school year.

Going forward, if a vaccinated child or masked unvaccinated child is exposed to someone with COVID-19, they will not have to quarantine.

“It’s hard enough them realizing what a pandemic is,” Hobbs says, “but having the decision to wear masks, it’s hard to expect them to excel.”

“I think it’s ridiculous,” he continues. “What happens in the next semester, what happens in the next semester?”

Retired education Leslie Posey has a different view.

“Personally until this thing is under control,” says Posey, who taught in New Hanover County Schools for 30 years. “I think everybody needs to be wearing masks.”

One thing Posey agrees with Hobbs on is the lack of clarity on enforcement.

“I think he needs to be a little firmer about it because there are some districts that are trying to override that and make masks not mandatory,” Posey says.

Part of the complication: The current mask mandate requiring face coverings at health facilities and on public transportation will expire at the end of the month. Cooper said there will no longer be a mask mandate once that ends.

“I guess the confusing part is: a mask at school, but a mask not at a restaurant,” Hobbs says. “A mask at school, but a mask not at the mall. It just kind of sends the wrong message.”

You can watch the governor’s entire news conference here.