The Avery County Board of Education has voted to require masks in school for students in third through twelfth grade.

The Avery Journal reports the board voted 3-2 on the mandate.

In addition, teachers will expedite plans to separate students as much as possible during breaks, lunch periods and other times when large groups may gather.

The board has asked Avery Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman to work with administrators, school nurses and, if possible, a representative from the area health department, for recommendations for what thresholds the board should put in place to guide future decisions on masks and distancing.

By law, all school systems must revisit their decisions monthly.

The next Avery Board of Education meeting is October 12.