By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on October 12, 2021
The Dare County Board of Education did not take any action on a mask mandate during its Oct. 12 meeting, leaving in place the schools’ universal masking requirement it unanimously adopted on Sept. 1. The board, however, did vote on some COVID-19 related items.
By a 3-2 margin, board members voted at the meeting to adopt a policy regarding the use of masks that, under state law, all North Carolina school districts must do during the 2021-2022 school year. The law also requires school boards vote monthly on whether their mask policy should be modified. At the time the board approved the mask mandate on Sept. 1, it did not take the step of declaring it a policy.
Board members Joe Tauber and Carl Woody voted against the measure, with Tauber suggesting that it would “make teachers, principals and staff mask police.” Frank Hester, Mary Ellon Ballance and Margaret Lawler voted in favor. Board members Susan Bothwell and David Twiddy were absent from the meeting.
During the occasionally contentious meeting — where roughly a dozen members of the public spoke, primarily to object to the mask mandate — the board also voted to amend the agenda to not allow Dare County Schools Superintendent John Farrelly to deliver a COVID-19 update submitted by Dare County Health and Human Services Director Sheila Davies.
Davies could not attend the meeting due to a conflict, Farrelly noted. But Tauber objected to the superintendent delivering the slide presentation that Davies forwarded without her being available for questions.
“I would welcome us talking about the dashboard information, but there are personal opinions in that report that I’ve read from Ms. Davies, and we don’t have an opportunity to ask her questions on those opinions,” he said, making a motion to amend the agenda to exclude the health director’s report.
The motion passed 4-1, with board member Margaret Lawler casting the dissenting vote. “I think everything that she is going to put forward or what are in her slides are just going to be facts. They are not opinions, they are facts,” Lawler said.
See Also: Some key points from Davies’ COVID memo