JOHNSTON SCHOOL BOARD IGNORES MADDY AND KEEPS MASK MANDATE: Johnston County students and teachers must continue to wear face masks in school, despite a protest led by U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn last week to make the coverings optional. The Johnston County school board voted 4-3 on Monday to continue its face mask requirement for at least another month. A group of two school board members will now meet with Dr. Marilyn Pearson, the county health director, to discuss the metrics for lifting the mask requirement. The vote comes at a time when nearly all of North Carolina’s 115 school districts are still requiring masks in the face of rising number COVID-19 numbers from the delta variant. But some districts, such as Harnett County and Lincoln County, voted last week to end their mask requirements. STFU, Comm's Guy.
WAKE SCHOOL BOARD WILL SPEND A TON OF MONEY TESTING UNVACCINATED: In a series of meetings Tuesday, the Wake County Board of Education will discuss staff vaccinations, coronavirus testing in schools and how to keep the virus out of classrooms. Central office staff will share that 85.9% of school system employees are fully vaccinated. Another 500 or so individuals (2.9%) have indicated that they are either partially vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated. Under President Biden's COVID-19 action plan, which includes schools, workplaces with more than 100 workers must test unvaccinated staff members weekly. Another discussion on Tuesday will be how to use the same testing for students. The board will also hear a plan to administer regular COVID-19 tests in schools, for students and unvaccinated staff, although a decision on any testing isn't expected until next month. Parents would be asked to sign a consent form for students to be tested, and results would be available within 24 hours. And what if they don't consent, which I fear too many will choose?
UNION COUNTY TAKES MANDY COHEN SERIOUSLY, EVEN IF MANY OTHERS DON'T: Union County's school board voted Monday to modify the district's quarantine protocols to comply with state law and let the county health department lead contact-tracing efforts. The move comes after the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services threatened to sue the district for overhauling contact-tracing procedures and allowing most of its 7,000 quarantined students back into the classroom so long as they are not symptomatic or infected with COVID-19. “UCPS will recognize quarantines in accordance with state law of students and staff who are considered close contacts with a COVID-19 positive case,” said Kathy Heintel, a member of the board. Because it is one of a handful of districts not compelling students or staff to wear masks and does not have an online learning option, some Union County parents say the quarantines have amounted to 14 days of near-total learning loss. You know what else causes learning loss? Covid psychosis.
REPUBLICANS MOVE TO STOP NC TOWNS FROM PROTECTING TREES: Last week Carolina Beach Town Council asked staff to move forward with plans to develop a tree-protection ordinance. On the face of it, a local government moving to protect its tree canopy wouldn’t normally be big news. But if the state budget bill now working its way through the N.C. General Assembly is passed as currently written, the New Hanover County beach town could be one of the last in the state to do so without the blessing of state lawmakers. That’s because language inserted into the legislation deep into the bill’s back-and-forth between Republican N.C. House and Senate members would prohibit a local government’s ability to regulate the removal of trees. Although the 2021-22 fiscal year started July 1, North Carolina has yet to adopt a new state budget. “No local government regulations regulating the removal of trees from private property are enforceable unless expressly authorized by local act of the General Assembly,” states the provision, which first appeared in the fifth edition of the budget bill, on page 37 of the 671-page legislation. Yanno, I hear a lot of whining from Republicans in my Planning Board meetings about the loss of trees from new developments. But I know it has a hell of a lot more to do with keeping new people from moving in than it does a love of trees.
MISSOURI GUN-NUTS MAY BE ABOUT TO LOSE THEIR LAW LICENSES: The gun-toting couple in St. Louis, Mo., who gained national notoriety after they stood on their lawn and pointed weapons at people protesting against racial injustice, may have their licenses to practice law revoked. The couple, who both practice law together at the McCloskey Law Center specializing in personal injury, pleaded guilty to firearm charges in June but were pardoned by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) in July. Missouri Chief Disciplinary Counsel Alan Pratzel, whose office is responsible for investigating ethical complaints against Missouri lawyers, this week asked the state Supreme Court to suspend their law licenses, according to a court filing first reported by Kansas City, Mo., radio station KCUR-FM. Pratzel’s motion argued that the McCloskeys’ crimes had shown “indifference to public safety” and involved “moral turpitude” warranting discipline, as he recommended the state Supreme Court indefinitely suspend their licenses, according to the Associated Press. Pratzel also stated in the court filing that while a pardon erases a conviction, “the person’s guilt remains.” Images and videos of Mark McCloskey and his wife, Patricia, standing in front of their mansion, barefoot and brandishing a rifle and handgun, on June 28, 2020, while protesters marched through their gated community went viral in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis — coming to symbolize a divided nation. That's Missouri, not Mississippi, when you mention this at the water cooler. Not that there's a hell of a lot of difference...