The Watauga County Board of Education voted January 10 to continue the mask mandate for students, teachers and staff.

The Watauga Democrat reports that as cases are surging in the school system, and that includes school support staff.

Watauga Schools Superintendent Dr Scott Elliot said everyone is pitching in to cover classes and drive buses, but said staff is stretched thin.

The first week back after the holidays has seen 97 cases among students and 25 staff members as of January 13.

The board voted unanimously to maintain the mask mandate.