DAVIDSON COUNTY — Davidson County Schools Board of Education voted this week to renew mandates for students and staff to wear face coverings until at least the next board meeting.

Board members provided those in attendance, which included parents and students who expressed displeasure with the ongoing mandate, with reason to believe that the requirement could soon be lifted. Christy Jones, whose motion prompted the vote, said she remains optimistic that DCS may not operate with the current restrictions much longer.

“I’m making a motion that we keep masks until the next school board meeting, but I’m hoping that we can change at that time,” Jones said.

The meeting at Davis-Townsend Elementary School once again drew a crowd nearly universally in opposition to the mask mandate. Many spoke of their reservation to the board’s decision to enforce policies that some believe could set precedent for mandatory vaccination.

Board members responded to this suggestion, indicating that no such additional mandate would be forthcoming.

“I just want to make the point that I don’t believe that I personally — or anyone else on this board, if I could speak collectively — would ever be in favor of mandated vaccines on children when that is a parental choice,” said Kristie Bonnett.

Both Bonnett and Jones contended that a choice of that nature extends beyond the realm of whether to wear a face covering. These decisions continue to serve as a source of rancor for parents who believe all such decisions involving the students should be left to parents.

School officials draw the line, however, with injecting students with substances their guardians do not trust.

“I would never say that a nurse could come and give a shot to my child without my permission,” Jones said. “It would never happen. If I want her to get the shot, I will get her the shot. But no, I would not agree to any nurse doing that on school property. Absolutely not.”

Officials referenced an unsatisfactory number of cases when offering reasons for why the mask mandate remains in place.

A total of 253 new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed among county residents from Oct. 18 to Oct. 27. Davidson reported a 6.2% positivity rate, down 2.2% from the rate seven days prior. Cumulatively, the county has reached 314 COVID-19 deaths since April 2020, including three in the most recently-reported seven-day span.

In sum, 47% of the county’s residents are partially vaccinated, with 44% fully vaccinated.

In its weekly COVID update for the week of Oct. 22 through Oct. 29, Davidson County Schools reported 42 students and five staff members in the district were required to quarantine, with 36 students and eight staff members having contracted the virus. The number of students and staff in the Davidson County Schools district required to quarantine has been dropping since its highest point in mid-August when 1,447 students in one week were required to quarantine after being exposed to the virus at school.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.

Staff writer Daniel Kennedy can be reached at 336-888-3578, or at kennedy@tvilletimes.com.