Revised guidance coming from the state for NC public schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit, which school districts use for guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic, will be updated Friday.

"There is some nuance on specifically who will need to be excluded and who will need to be quarantined," said Dr. Betsey Tilson, NCDHHS State Health Director, during Thursday's state board of education meeting. "This is a piece that I'm waiting from the CDC today to be sure that we're completely in line with CDC."

Tilson said they will update it so it's in line with isolation and quarantine control measures from the CDC that align with new recommendations on boosters for younger people.

The CDC recommended the Pfizer booster for children ages 12 to 15 and a third dose of Pfizer for certain immunocompromised children ages 5 to 11.

"There has also been some evolving changes in isolation and quarantine control measures from the CDC that you may have heard about," said Tilson. "It is a little bit in flux. This is high-level major changes. We want to see what happens today and if there's any more further tweaks and then we'll be sure that we are then adding the most updated changes specifically on isolation and quarantine into the Strong Schools Toolkit."

Tilson presented data from the ABC Science Collaborative from 367 participants in five school districts and one charter school showing 39%of exposures happened during lunch when students have their masks off. During athletics, that number is 13%.

"Most exposures happened during lunch," Tilson said. "We are seeing a little bit more of a higher risk in exposures during athletics. We have continued to see this throughout that athletics tend to be a higher risk activity."

Tilson showed data that districts making masking optional had a greater chance of developing a COVID-19 cluster than districts requiring masks.
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