COVID-19

Safe Return To School Plan

Student wearing mask and reading a book
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    Our top priority in all decisions is the health, safety, and well-being of our students, employees, and school communities. To minimize the spread of COVID-19, the district adheres to all COVID-19 health measures required by the NC Department of Health and Human Services and consults with Wake County Public Health to determine what precautions are needed in our schools to keep our students, staff, and community healthy in a safe and welcoming environment.


    Stay home when sick.

    All students should have their temperature taken every day at home before coming to school. You may not enter a WCPSS facility if you are:

    • Diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 10 days
    • Exposed to COVID-19 within the last 14 days and not fully vaccinated
    • Instructed to quarantine
    • Sick or experiencing any of these symptoms of illness
      • 100.4° fever or higher
      • Sore throat
      • New cough
      • New shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Diarrhea or vomiting
      • New severe headache

    In addition, students must be free of any symptoms of illness unless the student has a confirmed diagnosis from a healthcare professional attributing the symptoms to something other than COVID-19.

    Face coverings

    NCDHHS requires everyone age 5 and older to wear face coverings when indoors at schools, preschools, and on school or vendor transportation on days when students are in the building. They can be removed when actively eating or drinking. Face coverings are optional for everyone when outdoors.

    On days when no students are in the school building, face coverings will be optional indoors for employees and visitors. If a student is present, employees must wear a face covering. 

    Face coverings will also be optional for employees at Central Services who are not likely to interact with children and for visitors to these sites, including visitors to Board of Education and committee meetings.

    Anyone who is not fully vaccinated is strongly encouraged to wear a face covering and maintain 6 feet of social distance.

    If your student cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability, you may request a face covering accommodation by submitting an Accommodation Request Form to your student’s principal. The form requires medical certification, which must be completed and signed by a licensed health care provider. Students are required to wear a face covering in school while their request is under review. Regional program students and students with accommodations in 2020-21 are not required to request an accommodation for 2021-22.


    Physical distancing

    Schools are taking actions to ensure all campus spaces and buildings support health and safety, including asking students to maintain as much physical distancing as possible. These actions include: signage to remind students of physical-distancing practices and strategic furniture placement in classrooms. 

     

    Handwashing

    Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. The CDC recommends everyone wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Teachers will be teaching handwashing in the classroom, incorporating handwashing breaks into the school day, and reinforcing handwashing during key times throughout the school day such as before eating, using the restroom, and touching shared objects.

    Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, individuals are encouraged to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. 

    If your child has sensitivities to hand sanitizer, communicate this with your child’s teachers so they can provide your child other opportunities to clean their hands.

     

    Vaccinations

    North Carolinians age 12 and over are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Visit YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov for more information and to find a free vaccination site in your area.

      

    Eating on Campus

    NC Department of Health and Human Services does not provide health guidance about students eating in schools. To best meet their nutritional and social-emotional needs, students may talk during meal times. Elementary and middle school students will have assigned seating. Sharing food is discouraged. If food is provided for other students or employees, it must be commercially bought and commercially pre-packaged in individual containers.


    Healthy spaces

    Buildings will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and every evening. Disinfecting supplies will be provided to each classroom to support the cleaning of desks and other high touch surfaces between classes, after lunch, and the cleaning of shared program materials/equipment. Specific areas occupied by an individual experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. 

    Buildings will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and every evening.

    Well-maintained HVAC systems are also important in reducing risks associated with COVID-19. Our school’s HVAC systems have been designed in accordance with the NC mechanical code and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommendations. In response to the pandemic, we’ve upgraded to MERV 13 air filters, an important risk-reduction strategy for COVID-19.

     

    COVID-19 reporting and contact tracing

    Even with thorough measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on school campuses, anyone in the community could be exposed to the virus through everyday interactions on-campus or off-campus. To assist with maintaining a healthy school community, we ask students, employees, and visitors to notify your school as soon as possible if you are diagnosed with COVID-19. 

    WCPSS is required to report cases of COVID-19 to Wake County Public Health and work with them to conduct contact tracing, which will determine who, if anyone, will need to quarantine. Only individuals who had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to quarantine. WCPSS and Wake County Public Health will work together to ensure that individuals believed to have been exposed to COVID-19 are notified.

     

    Visitors

    Only essential visitors will be allowed on school campuses in an effort to protect the health and safety of our students.

     

    Water Fountains

    Because of COVID-19, students are not allowed to drink directly from water fountains. Students may bring a refillable water bottle.