GUILFORD COUNTY, NC (WGHP) – Some school systems in the Piedmont Triad are loosening their mask policies as COVID-19 cases fall, while others keep their mandates in place.
On Feb. 8, officials at Guilford County Schools and Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools voted to keep their mask mandates in place for students and staff.
All adults and students at Alamance-Burlington schools over two years must wear face protection while indoors at school and in school buses, regardless of vaccination status.
Masks are optional at Rockingham County Schools and Wilkes County Schools. Masks will also be optional in Davidson County schools from February 21st.
On Feb. 10, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services officials announced revised guidance on dropping contact individual tracking for all K-12 students and staff.
It recommends that students be out of school only when they are ill or testing positive for COVID-19.
“We certainly look like a roadmap,” said Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, state health director and chief physician of the NCDHHS. “All of our leading indicators are falling. Our admissions are falling. It tells me we’re heading in the right direction.”
According to NCDHHS COVID-19 dashboardthe total number of cases decreases, hospitalizations are leveled, and the death toll decreases.
Tilson told FOX8 that state health experts estimated that new variants have a shorter incubation period with rapid transfer and a greater number of asymptomatic and less severe cases. She said many infections are not identified by public health because people are not being tested or using home tests.
Tilson said the masking recommendation may change as the temperature changes.
“When we get into the warmer weather, into the spring, I see these cases drop pretty quickly,” Tilson said. “I hope it will not be too far away to get to these levels to make these masks optional.”
New recommendations for school tutoring tools take effect on February 21st.
North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt issued the following statement on the mesh mandates and toolkit during an interview with FOX8 on Wednesday:
So from the beginning, I have said that whether a district’s masks should be a matter of local control, which means there should not be a nationwide mandate right now. We have local control. All our districts are capable of that. All our local education boards have the opportunity to vote and choose whether to follow the recommendations of the toolkit subject to the local health director’s agreement, because the local health director can actually overturn a board decision – a local board decision – I personally would like this to be a choice for parents at this time. We have such high levels of immunity and I think many parents have a mask fatigue and feel they are ready to tolerate a higher baseline of transmission to take the mask off.
– North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt
Governor Roy Cooper is set to hold a briefing on Thursday focusing on mask guidance.
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