CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — The Caldwell County School Board voted Friday morning to make masks optional in schools during an emergency meeting.
The school board said masks will still be required on school buses.
The emergency meeting came just a day after North Carolina made major changes to the Safe Schools Toolkit.
Here are some of the new changes:
Masks in school
Earlier in the day, Governor Roy Cooper hinted at changes to the mask policy.
“We’re going to have the department of health and human services, a little later, be issuing an updated school toolkit to talk about that. And so, I’m pleased and hopeful that we can get back to normal lives with the understanding that we’re all going to need to do things to make sure that we protect ourselves, dependent upon the risk,” Cooper said.
But, there were no changes in the toolkit on masking. The recommendation is to continues to follow CDC guidance, which suggests masking in schools in communities where the percent positivity rate is over 8%.
The state is no longer recommending the contact tracing of individual cases. State leaders said it is less important to perform this now that omicron has produced widespread transmission. They also cite a large number of asymptomatic cases and access to at-home tests as additional reasons to discontinue contact tracing for individual cases.
Students or staff exposed to COVID-19 no longer need to stay home before returning to school as long as they don’t have symptoms. These asymptomatic cases previously had to quarantine at home for days after possible exposure.
Click here to read more changes to the Strong Schools Toolkit
WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions reporting on and engaging the community around the problems and solutions as they relate to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.