Wake County Schools ending COVID-19 testing, other changes

Josh Chapin Image
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
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The opening of the traditional school year is only a few weeks away and the Wake County School Board discussed changes to its health guidance on Tuesday evening

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The opening of the traditional school year is only a few weeks away and the Wake County School Board discussed changes to its health guidance on Tuesday evening.

It comes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in North Carolina because of the highly contagious BA.5 variant.

One of the biggest things to come out of the meeting is that the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit is a thing of the past.

The school board also decided to give Election Day off for students except for those in multi-track year-round schools.

The health guidance, which was developed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, will no longer be used. Now, it's just about CDC guidance and whatever Wake County Health recommends.

Some of the updated guidelines include the use of face masks if a community is in high transmission--which Wake County is not for now.

There's also an emphasis on hand hygiene and staying home if one is sick.

There's also no more recommendation for physical distancing of either 3 or 6 feet nor for contact tracing.

Staffers also do not have to report their vaccination status.

"We're going to be moving through this as normal as we can," said School Board Chair Lindsay Mahaffey. "As a district, as a community, we know the health protocols, we've seen the vaccination rates for our adults and our students and we hope if folks have questions they go to their health provider and ask."

In another major move, the school system is also ending its COVID-19 testing. Instead, schools are being provided at-home test kits to give to families and staffers upon request.

There was also some discussion about the future of remote instruction days and the sentiment appeared to be that they will only be used as a last resort.