These protocols are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Wake County Public Health, and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).
Our top priority in all decisions is the health, safety, and well-being of our students, employees, and school communities. If and when the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic change, this guidance may also change.
To learn more, click on the topic below to expand the information.
Face Coverings >
North Carolina requires a face covering of your choice for all employees, adult visitors, and K-12 students at all times, even when 6 feet or farther from other individuals, including:
- inside school buildings and anywhere on school grounds, including outside;
- while traveling on buses, vendor transportation or other WCPSS vehicles.
Cloth face coverings remain strongly recommended for pre-K students if appropriate for that child, but are not required for them. State health officials strongly recommend face coverings for all people over the age of two.
A face covering must be secured safely over the nose, mouth, and under the chin.
Individuals may briefly remove their face coverings in the following instances, while remaining socially distanced at least six feet from other individuals:
- While actively eating or drinking
- Are seeking to communicate with a hearing impaired person in a way that requires the mouth to be visible
- Are in a personal vehicle
- The face covering is impeding visibility to operate equipment or a vehicle
Face coverings are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with everyday preventive actions and social distancing in public settings.
Face coverings will be provided for students who do not have access to one. If given a reusable face covering, it is the responsibility of the family to wash it when needed and bring it back to reuse it.
Please also review face covering best practices on the CDC website with your child and help them practice wearing face coverings appropriately for extended periods of time.
Schools may give students a brief face covering break if they can meet all of the following conditions:
- Outside only
- Spaced 8-10 feet from all other individuals, including employees
- Students should remain stationary in the same space
- Students should all face the same direction
Face Covering Accommodation Requests
Students who cannot tolerate a face covering due to developmental, medical, or behavioral health needs may request an accommodation by completing and submitting a Face Covering Accommodation Request Form For Students. Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the nature of the disability or medical need, the availability of alternative safety measures, and current public health guidance.
Once submitted to your principal, Face Covering Accommodation Requests may take up to two weeks to process, before a decision is made. All individuals are required to wear a face covering on WCPSS property while their request is under review.
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. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 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.
Hand-Sanitizing Stations >
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). Schools will provide hand sanitizer at every school entrance and exit, in the cafeteria, in every classroom, and on every bus and transportation vehicle.
If your child has sensitivities to hand sanitizer, please communicate this with your child’s teachers so they can provide your child other opportunities to clean their hands.
Social Distancing >
Schools are taking actions to ensure all campus spaces and buildings support health and safety. These actions include: signage and floor markings to remind students of social-distancing practices, strategic furniture placement in classrooms, and changing the typical “traffic flow” inside school buildings to promote and facilitate social distancing in hallways, bathrooms, and during times of transition.
Before and after school, we ask students to avoid congregating on campus. Employees will direct students to clear the hallways and parking lots and leave campus in an effort to encourage social distancing.
All schools will social distance whenever possible, but when students return for daily in-person instruction under Plan A, classrooms are not expected to maintain 6 feet of space between desks or students if space does not allow. All students should continue to stay apart from other students, employees, and visitors, to maintain as much social distancing as possible.
Cleaning and Disinfecting >
Buildings will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and every evening. The CDC defines cleaning as removing germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces or objects. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Hospital-grade disinfectants are used in all school facilities. Students are not permitted to assist with cleaning and disinfecting.
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 as desired. After school each day, desks and other touch points will be disinfected.
Custodial Services will clean and disinfect all restrooms using approved procedures a minimum of four times daily, and after school hours.
If students eat in the cafeteria, Child Nutrition Services will clean and disinfect seats and tables before and after each meal. If students eat in the classroom, students and employees are expected to clean up after themselves by placing all trash and recyclables in the bins placed in the hallways. Bins will be located near multiple classrooms.
Response to Presumptive, Suspected or Positive COVID-19 Illness
Specific areas occupied by an individual experiencing symptoms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Only essential visitors will be allowed on school campuses in an effort to protect the health and safety of our community by minimizing the
number of people on sites.
All efforts will be made to keep necessary visitors to a minimum, including the use of virtual or telephone meetings with families and guests.
If it is essential to have family members or visitors enter the facility, they must go through the same health screening process as students and employees. All visitors are required to follow guidelines in the Face Covering section of this website. Any meetings with a family member or visitor must follow social-distancing guidelines.
Water Fountains >
In response to COVID-19, students will be prohibited from drinking directly from water fountains.
All students are encouraged to bring their own bottled water or reusable water bottles. All water bottles should be clearly labeled with the user’s name. It is the students’ responsibility to keep track of their water bottles and take them home for regular cleaning.
If students need water and do not have a water bottle, they may ask an employee for a cup to get water from the water fountain.
All employees and students must be socially distanced at least 6 feet from others when removing their face covering to drink.
Eating on Campus >
In Plan A, students and employees are strongly encouraged to maintain as much social distancing as possible with the goal being six feet, and only remove face coverings when actively eating or drinking. Individual schools will decide how to best maximize social distancing while eating, based on the facility and available resources.
In Plan B, all students and employees must maintain at least six feet of social distance and only remove face coverings when actively eating or drinking.
Sharing food is discouraged in Plan A or B. If food or drink is provided for other students or employees, it must be commercially bought and commercially pre-packaged in individual containers with separate, disposable utensils for each person.
Prepared School Meals >
Our child nutrition employees will continue to prepare food in our school kitchens following very strict food safety and sanitation
procedures required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), NC
Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). All meals will be individually packaged for direct service to students.
Breakfast and lunch will be free for all students. Students will not need to provide their student ID in order to get a meal. Meals will continue to be served at curbside feeding locations for students who are learning remotely, including all students in Virtual Academy. You may pick up a meal for your child at the site that is most convenient for you by completing this form. Meals are limited to one breakfast and one lunch per student each day. Visit wcpss.net/food for updates on locations and serving times.
Please complete the 2020-2021 school year free and reduced-price meal benefits application. Although an approved meal benefits application is not necessary to receive free meals this year, it is necessary for other grants and education related programs that benefit our students.
Our menus will continue to feature student favorites, our signature in-house speed-scratch specialties, fresh Got To Be NC farm-to-school fruits and vegetables, and will provide the protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables that are important ingredients in a nutritious meal.
Seating capacity on buses will be consistent with state guidelines.
All K-12 students are required to wear a face covering at all times while in a vehicle, unless they have an approved face covering accommodation. If an employee or student does not have a face covering, one will be provided.
Hand sanitizer will be available on all school transportation vehicles for safe use by employees and older children.
Touch points, including doors and windows, grab handles, arm rests, hard seats, door handles, and seat belt buckles, will be disinfected between each bus run with an EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Our child nutrition employees will continue to prepare food in our school kitchens following very strict food safety and sanitation procedures required by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). All meals will be individually packaged for direct service to students.
Through December 31, breakfast and lunch will be available at no cost for all students. Meals are currently available at curbside and community locations listed at wcpss.net/food.
Information about applying for Meal Benefits for the 2020-21 school year can be found at wcpss.net/meals. Students eligible for reduced-price meals will receive their breakfast and lunch at no cost for the 2020-21 school year. Applications can be completed online at MySchoolApps.com, or a paper application can be requested by calling 919-588-3535.
Our menus will continue to feature student favorites, fresh Got To Be NC farm-to-school fruits and vegetables, and will provide the protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables that are important ingredients in a nutritious meal.
More information regarding Child Nutrition Services is available in our Child Nutrition Reopening Guide for Parents.
Athletic and Co-Curricular Activities >
The school board has approved this schedule for the gradual return of high school athletic activities. Middle school athletic activities will resume on a limited basis in second semester. These plans are subject to change.
Below is a summary of health and safety protocols for student-athletes, staff and spectators. Contact your school for more detailed information and workout schedules.
The following documents are required for athletic participation. These documents should be submitted prior to attending their first athletic pre-season activity.
- Initial Screening Form (must be signed prior to beginning participation)
- High School /MIddle School Athletic Participation Form
Check temperature before leaving home. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, or reporting signs or symptoms, must not participate. Coaches and athletes will be screened on site daily by answering symptom screening questions and getting their temperature checked. Participants who are being dropped off should have their ride wait until the participant has successfully passed the daily health screening and has been cleared for that day’s activities.
All individuals are required to wear a face covering at all times. This includes coaches, participants, athletic trainers, managers, and anyone else gathered for the activity.
During high school off-season activities, gatherings are limited to no more than 25 people total indoors and 50 people total outdoors, including staff, athletic trainers, managers, and participants. If this guidance differs from federal, state, or local guidelines, you must adhere to the requirements that are most restrictive.
Pods should be used keeping the same groupings of participants in each pod during each session.
In person off-season activities must be limited to no more than 90 minutes per day per student.
During in-season activities, participant numbers are not limited. However, coaches should consider grouping athletes in pods for practices.
Middle school activities scheduled for the spring of 2021 are considered in season, however no contests will take place.
Weight rooms and locker rooms remain closed.
Spectators for High School Contests
Schools must adhere to N.C. High School Athletic Association, state and local restrictions on group sizes. Spectator attendance is open only to immediate family members of home team participants. The host school would determine allocation of tickets to all programs and allocate the tickets in a clearly communicated plan.
If a person on a team tests positive for COVID-19, anyone who has been exposed will quarantine for 14 days and watch for symptoms. Individuals who have had positive screenings must provide a Return to Play Form completed by a health care provider before being allowed to return.
Field Trips >
For the upcoming school year, in-person field trips have been suspended to ensure the safety of our students and employees.