Gray Stone Day School makes masks for students optional

Starting Monday, Gray Stone Day School students will have the option of wearing a mask.

In a move which received applause from parents and other citizens in attendance, the Gray Stone Board of Directors unanimously approved the motion at Monday’s meeting to make masks optional.

School administrator Helen Nance spoke to the board regarding the changes, noting Gray Stone has a stated mission of preparing students for college.

“These honors and Advanced Placement classes move at a much faster pace and are much more difficult to make if you have missed them due to absence for any reason,” Nance said.

She said Gray Stone has learned “that in-person education is far more effective than virtual.

“That is why we made the decision to do what was necessary in order to decrease the quarantines of students and teachers, and increase face-to-face learning time,” Nance said.

She cited the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as the source for the rules which the school has had in place.

With DHHS changing the quarantine rules Feb. 10, Nance said she recommended Gray Stone go to optional masks starting Feb. 21, allowing staff to communicate the changes.

According to school nurse Sherri Swaringen, Gray Stone is no longer required by the state’s toolkit to contact trace students or exclude them after exposure.

Students who test positive will have to be in isolation for five days and may return to school on the sixth day. Only students who are on days six through 10, after testing again on day five, will be required to wear a mask for those five days.

Masks are still recommended by the toolkit, along with getting a vaccination and booster shot, testing after exposure, ventilating areas and staying home when sick.