Johnston County School Board Votes 6-To-1 For Masks To Become Optional

Left to right, with hands raised for a vote, Ronald Johnson, Al Byrd, Todd Sutton, Terri Sessoms, Lyn Andrews, and Mike Wooten vote to end mandatory masks in Johnston County Public Schools. Masks will become optional Monday, February 21st. (YouTube Screenshot)

The Johnston County Public School Board voted Tuesday evening to make face masks optional. The vote was 6-to-1. Beginning Monday February, 21st, face coverings will be optional for all students, staff and guests in public schools and public school buildings.

The mask optional status will be on a school by school basis depending on the positivity rate at that particular school campus or school office building.

Board member Lyn Andrews made the motion. “All of us want to do what is best for our entire population of students and staff, and in that trying to keep kids and staff in school. In an effort to move forward, through this time of dealing with COVID, which we have dealt with now almost two years, and also with the belief and the desire to keep our students and staff safe and in school, I would like to make a motion that we move to a mask optional status with the following criteria in place.”

The criteria includes monitoring the “percent excluded” by COVID-19 at each campus or school and provide a daily report on the school COVID-19 dashboard on where each school stands.

If a school or campus rises above four percent excluded, that campus will then be required to shift to masks for the next 10 days.

On Day 10 at 5:00pm, the percentage excluded will again be assessed and it will be determined whether or not the campus can return to optional face coverings.

Parents will be notified on Friday, Feb. 18th of the status of their child’s school and whether masks will or will not be required beginning Monday, Feb. 21st.

Board member Mike Wooten stated, “I will say this is a step in the right direction… I would just prefer we have all schools mask optional without percentages, however this is a step in the right direction.”

Wooten asked if the “percent excluded” criteria were in place today, how many schools would be face mask optional. He learned all public school campuses would be mask optional, based on today’s COVID numbers.

Kay Carroll said, “I am with everybody else. I want to get rid of the mask as soon as possible but we are still classified as a red county. The transmission rate is 1,000 per 100,000. The goal is less than 10 per 100,000. We are red. We are flaming red. Positivity rate of 29 and 26 percent based on whatever day it is. A goal of less than five.”

“We’ve stated to the parents and everyone here, our goal is to keep kids in the classroom in front of a teacher. We’ve done a pretty good job at that so far. As somebody who is in health care, yeah I think its getting better, but its getting better because we’ve been doing some smart things… We’re a red county. Transmission is big. Positivity is high… I think we are getting near the end of the race. We’re all getting tired of it. I don’t want us to quit before we finish the race,” Mr. Carroll stated.

Ronald Johnson seconded the motion to make face coverings optional saying, “Its practically versus reality.”

Chairman Todd Sutton, Vice Chair Terri Sessoms, Lyn Andrews, Al Byrd, Ronald Johnson, and Mike Wooten voted to approve the change to optional face coverings effective February 21. Kay Carroll cast the sole vote no.


  1. This school board really thinks you parents and taxpayers are so ignorant that you will forget the living hell that they have put you parents and kids through for the last two years. $180-K-Carrols vote is signaling the teachers union that once the election is over the mask hell will be back in full force. Remember all those teachers bonuses folks, that’s right, teachers got bonuses for staying at home while you parents worked by day and teached by night. This is the perfect example of professional teachers unions politicians at work here folks.

    • Those of us who did not succumb to the Covid hysteria should never forget those who imposed unconstitutional, anti-science, and mentally damaging restrictions on the populace. Never allow them to re-write the narrative. Hold them accountable.

    • Terry you are dumb as a box of rocks if you think masks are coming back after the election. Look around the room and country. Mask mandates and covid restrictions are dropping everywhere. The New York Times even released today that covid restrictions are polling terribly in their focus groups. It’s over, all restrictions will be gone everywhere by November, even in super lib places.

  2. Now we know who to vote out for sure in 2024 cause he would keep our students masked forever! Thank you board for making this finally happen. The mental health of the next generation appreciates it.

    • Johnson, Sutton, and Wooten are the only ones who have voted in the past to get rid of the face diapers. All the others need to be gone next cycle.

      • Yes but also keep in mind their votes on other things, especially Wooten and Sutton! They voted masks optional only cause of reelection prospects.

  3. Kay Carroll needs to go asap. He should wear a mask 24/7 … DO NOT VOTE FOR HIM !!! Lynn Andrews is next , she needs to go too !

  4. February 1, 2022

    “The highly transmissible omicron variant now accounts for almost all COVID-19 cases around the world, but a subvariant ― omicron BA.2 ― has emerged that appears to be even more contagious. Cases of omicron BA.2 are limited in the U.S., but COVID-19 experts at Mayo Clinic say the number is growing, especially overseas.

    Scientists are tracking the rise in cases of omicron BA.2, which they say is even more contagious than the original omicron variant, which is also known as BA.1.

    “The best estimates are that it’s about 1½ times more infectious or transmissible than omicron was. And, remember, omicron was quite a bit more transmissible than delta, which was more transmissible than alpha,” says Dr. Poland.”

    Full Mayo Clinic article:

    • Yes. Those of us who passed high school biology know that this is how viruses work. They mutate, often becoming more contagious, but less severe. This is going to be with us forever, just like the common cold.

      But by all means, live in fear.

  5. The problem with science its being manipulated to fit a story. Start with the why deaths are counted for Covid in NC. Have not looked at other states because I don’t care. NC DHHS is on record on counting deaths for Covid

    “Data on cases and deaths, including number, demographics, county and ZIP code of residence, come from the North Carolina COVID-19 Surveillance System (NC COVID). Data on cases and deaths include both molecular (PCR) and antigen positive cases.” What this means if you are in an auto accident and you tested positive for Covid that persons death going in the Covid death bucket.

    I see kids getting off the buses and the first thing they do to take off their mask. So what is the point? As for type of masks being used at school 99% of the masks I see the kids wearing are worthless from protection from inhaling partials. More kids will die in car accidents this year than from Covid. 2019, (DMV data) 80 kids 15-19 died in NC from auto accidents. So should be stops kids from learning to drive? Life is full of dangers and difficulties to overcome. We all are going to die, just when is the question.

  6. The forcing of children to wear a mask borders on abuse. To terrorize a child into believing that they will die if they don’t wear a mask is horrific in nature and inappropriate at the least. The original purpose of masks was to prevent an asymptomatic person from spreading the disease without knowing. If the school system was operating under the assumption that everyone has COVID perhaps they should not have opened schools. Of course this is hyperbole as this virus can never be eliminated. No respiratory virus ever has. Unfortunately the best defense is s natural immunity as science has most recently concluded. I find it interesting that no standard has ever been communicated as to when these draconian edits would be removed.

  7. My 5 year old comes home from Kindergarten everyday with at least 2 wet masks and one day got a bloody nose and no-one even noticed until it bled through the mask and all over her mouth. This is absolutely abuse as children are less than 0% to die even if they get covid. MASKS need to stay gone!

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