Gov. Roy Cooper encouraged schools and local governments to end mask mandates as of March 7 in a press conference on Thursday.
"Local control is important here," Cooper said. "We passed a law giving local school boards control of the situation. Today, I'm encouraging them to end mask requirements."
The decision comes as a result of various factors, including North Carolina's vaccination rates and the lessened severity of the omicron variant.
Cooper said people and businesses should continue to make the best decisions for themselves. Certain places, such as health care, long-term care and public transportation settings, will still require masks due to federal regulations.
"(At this point in the pandemic), people know how to gauge their level of risk and decide how best to protect themselves," Cooper said.
He said it is time to focus on the quality of children's education — no matter your opinion on masks.
"It's time to end those government requirements on masks," he said. "And I believe that most of the local school boards will do so."