• COVID-19

    To minimize the spread of COVID-19, we follow prevention strategies from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This summer, NCDHHS phased out the StrongSchools NC Public Health Toolkit and we are following the guidance from CDC. 

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) References

    As a Reminder:

    • The CDC recommends staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations to prevent severe disease.
    • It is recommended that students and staff stay home if they are sick, not feeling well, or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Learn more.
    • It is recommended that all staff, students, and visitors wear masks as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Learn more.
    • Our schools continue to emphasize the importance of good hand hygiene and continue to incorporate opportunities for hand-washing throughout the school day. 
    • Our schools continue to emphasize the importance of respiratory etiquette (Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands).
    • We continue to maintain the same levels of cleaning and disinfecting restrooms, classrooms, buses and cafeteria tables regularly. 
    • Soap & paper towel dispensers continue to be checked regularly and replenished.
    • Hand sanitizer dispensers continue to be checked and replenished.
    • We continue to use MERV-13 high filtration filters in our HVAC systems in our schools and buildings. 
    • And for both the health and wellness of our students, our schools will continue to find opportunities to learn, eat and play outdoors.

    Staying Up-to-Date on Vaccinations

    The CDC recommends staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations to prevent severe disease.

    Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

    Washing hands can prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

    • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands.

    To help stop the spread of germs:

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
    • If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into the elbow, not the hands.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.

    Stay Home When Sick or Not Feeling Well

    It is recommended that students and staff stay home if they are sick, not feeling well, or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and recommend getting tested for COVID-19. People who are at risk for severe illness with COVID-19 who test positive are recommended to consult with a healthcare provider right away for possible treatment, even if their symptoms are mild.

    Masks

    There are no current local, state, or federal policies mandating universal masking in schools. Our district remains in contact with local public health officials about community levels of COVID-19 transmission and will continue to seek their guidance on best practice mitigation strategies.

    The following are recommendations by the CDC for COVID-19 community levels. These are not requirements.

    • Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator consistently and correctly reduces the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
    • Since wearing masks or respirators can prevent the spread of COVID-19, people who have a household or social contact with someone at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19 (for example, a student with a sibling who is at risk) may also choose to wear a mask at any COVID-19 Community Level.
    • People who have known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 are recommended to also wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others for 10 days from their last exposure, regardless of vaccination status or history of prior infection.
    • The CDC recommends that after 5 days of isolation, you can remove the mask if you have 2 negative tests at least 48 hours apart.

    CDC COVID-19 Community Level

    Mask Recommendations

    Low

    Anyone who chooses to wear a mask or respirator should be supported in their decision to do so at any COVID-19 Community Level, including low.

    Medium

    People who are immunocompromised or at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19 are recommended to wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protection.

    High

    People who are immunocompromised or at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19 are recommended to wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protection.

    At a high COVID-19 Community Level, universal indoor masking in schools and ECE programs is recommended, as it is in the community at large.

    Students and staff are recommended to wear a mask in the following situations: 

    • Recommend wearing a mask for at least 10 days after symptoms onset or testing positive for COVID-19, unless a mask accommodation applies (5 days for quarantine and 5 days when you return).
      • The CDC recommends that after 5 days of isolation, you can remove the mask if you have 2 negative tests at least 48 hours apart.
    • Recommend wearing a mask 10 days following exposure to a person with COVID-19, unless a mask accommodation applies.
    • Individuals at high risk for severe disease, are unvaccinated or are not up to date on vaccines, recommend wearing a mask in indoor settings.

    Mask Accommodation Requests

    For situations in which students are recommended to wear masks, if a student cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition or disability, families may request a mask accommodation by submitting a Mask Accommodation Request Form (form in Spanish) to the principal.  The form requires medical certification, which must be completed and signed by a licensed healthcare provider. 

    Regional Program Students

    Regional program students (including those in self-contained preschool special education classrooms) and students with mask accommodations are not required to request an accommodation for 2022-2023.

    Requests for Accommodations or Extra Precautions Due to Medical Needs

    WCPSS makes reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis for students and staff with disabilities when required by the ADA, Section 504, or the IDEA. Any request for accommodations or modifications to the school environment to accommodate a medical condition that renders a student high risk should be handled through a 504 or IEP team. 

    If the student has not previously been identified as a student with a disability, a referral for evaluation should be made. In order to determine if a student is entitled to a reasonable accommodation, the school must first determine if the student has a disability, which is a determination that must be made by a 504 or IEP team. 

    If a student has a disabling condition that renders the student medically high risk for complications from COVID-19, the 504 or IEP team should gather reliable medical evidence (including a medical evaluation if necessary) and then determine whether appropriate accommodations can reasonably be made in the school environment. 

    If questions arise regarding whether a particular accommodation is reasonable or appropriate, schools should contact the Special Education Services department or District 504 Team for assistance.

    COVID-19 Reporting - Required by North Carolina General Statute

    Our COVID-19 dashboard will be updated each Monday with positive cases reported by families and staff from the previous week.

    Testing

    At-Home testing kits are provided to families and staff upon request for symptoms of COVID-19.

    Schools and work sites should designate a point person to provide at-home test kits to parents and guardians, and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 upon request.

    • Parents, guardians and staff should follow testing directions provided with test kits.
    • Schools and work sites should not provide instructions on how to use test kits.
    • Test kits should not be given to students.
    • Testing should not be performed on WCPSS schools or work sites.
    • No documentation of who received testing kits is needed.
    • Families and staff should continue to report positive cases to their principal or supervisor.