RALEIGH – N.C. Representative David Willis (R-Union) has proposed committee substitute language for Senate Bill 173. The new language will give local school bodies exclusive authority to determine masking protocol for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. Currently, all guidelines related to face coverings are set by Gov. Roy Cooper's administration.

“Decisions about face coverings for our students should be left to local authorities,” Willis said. “Our school boards are in a much better position to implement policies that reflect their communities than Governor Cooper is in Raleigh. They should have the flexibility and authority to make those decisions.”

The legislation would still allow Governor Cooper to require masks or temporarily close certain schools or districts with specific reasoning given in the event of a viral outbreak. The legislation is written to only apply for the 2021-22 school year.

“As conservatives, we often say that government works best the closer it is to the people it represents,” said N.C. Rep. John Torbett, chairman of the House Education Committee. “This bill will empower local school boards to gather public input from their community and make the best decision for their schools. I commend Rep. Willis for his work on this important legislation.”

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