House Passes SB 173, “Free the Smiles Act”

Today the House passed SB 173, the “Free the Smiles Act.”
The bill gives local school boards the authority to determine masking policies for students in their district.
The bill would also require school boards to define their masking policies by an August 1 deadline. If no policy has been adopted by the deadline, students will not be required to mask. If a masking policy has been adopted by that deadline, the policy must be reconsidered for a vote each month.
House Speaker Tim Moore said, “North Carolina students deserve a safe learning environment in which they can thrive, but what works for one school district may not work well for another. One-size-fits-all mandates are not the answer. Local school boards, with input from parents and teachers, are best suited to do determine what works best for their own students.”
Rep. David Willis, said, “I am thankful for the support of our leadership and my fellow House members who voted for this bill. Our students deserve the right to remove their masks in school. The sooner they can get back to normal, the sooner they can begin to put the strain of this past year behind them. It is time to ‘Free The Smiles!'”
The bill will now go back to the Senate for concurrence.