RALEIGH — Members of the N.C. State Board of Education were briefed on COVID-19 policy changes and were given a sneak peek at the upcoming K-12 toolkit changes at its Mar. 3 meeting.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) gave a presentation to the board that says they are “adapting” their pandemic response.
“The COVID-19 landscape is different as we emerge from the latest surge; as we have throughout the pandemic, we are adapting our response based on the current stage of the pandemic,” one of NCDHHS’ slides reads.
At the bottom of another slide, NCDHHS states that “Universal mask mandates are a less important tool in lower risk settings like schools.”
Other mask related bullet points in the NCDHHS presentation included:
- NC DHHS no longer recommends universal mask requirements in schools or other lower risk settings
- Effective February 25, 2022, CDC does not require wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/childcare programs
- Recommend that students/staff who are at high risk for severe disease, are unvaccinated or are not up to date on vaccines wear a mask in indoor settings
- Recommend that students/staff wear a mask for 10 days following an exposure to a person with COVID-19
- Ensure students/staff wear a mask for at least 10 days after symptom onset or testing positive if they have COVID-19
- Because masks can add a layer of protection for those who want it, schools should support students and staff who choose to wear a mask
The NCDHHS presentation included a soon-to-be-released Mar. 7 update to the StrongSchools NC Toolkit, which reiterated that as of Feb. 25 the CDC no longer requires masks on school, elderly care, and childcare provider transportation.
Additionally, the toolkit’s updates state that “Schools should move to voluntary masking, in coordination with local authorities.”