LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The Lincoln County Board of Education voted 5-2 Tuesday night to make face masks optional for students and staff, effective on Sept. 29.

Multiple Lincoln County board members took turns speaking during the public meeting on Tuesday voicing their opinions on the matter before the vote.

“I’m having trouble wrapping my head around this, none of us are medical doctors here. We’ve listened to Dr. Tillson and we are adopting a policy by our vice chair that recommends no masks when we’ve heard masks in school for 30 days will keep our kids in school. Why would we adopt a policy from a board member that has no medical background?” one council member questioned during the meeting.

“To be on the record, I want to be known as Lincoln County Schools with great education and unity and all of these positive things. Not one of the only counties that is mask optional in North Carolina. I don’t want to be known for that,” another council member said before the vote.

“People are dying over this because we are not taking care of our kids, teachers, administrators, everyone needs to wear a mask to see where it’ll drop down too. Let’s see if we are making any progress,” one council member said to a round of applause from parents.

Since Tuesday, Sept. 14, 3,690 people are currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, 4,760 new cases have been reported since Monday, 13% is the daily percent positive, and a total of 15,305 people have died in NC.

To watch the Lincoln County Schools Board of Education Meeting, click here: