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VERIFY: Did in-person learning increase COVID-19 spread in schools?

New data compares numbers from Plan B, or hybrid learning, to Plan A, in-person learning, and what schools reported last month

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New data was just released regarding the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina schools. WCNC Charlotte is verifying if moving to Plan A made COVID-19 spread more inside North Carolina schools?

Back in March, the North Carolina State Board of Education ruled that all districts must offer in-person learning under Plan A with state-mandated safety protocols, minus social distancing at the elementary level. Gov. Roy Cooper said at the time, "the state board of education and public health leaders told us that all students should be in the classroom and that it could be done safely." 

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Our sources to verify this are the North Carolina State Board of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the ABC Science Collaborative, which is a national partnership between Duke University, UNC, and Community Stakeholders.

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Did moving to Plan A make COVID-19 spread more inside North Carolina schools?



Updated data from the ABC Science Collaborative shows if the guidelines from leaders in moving to Plan A were effective or not. Currently, 99 school districts and 20 charter schools are operating under this guidance. 

The study concluded that there was very limited reporting of in-school transmission, 42 cases across 751 schools to be exact last month.

When they compared the data from Plan B, which is a mix of in-person and remote learning, to Plan A, levels appear to be similar. In a mask-on setting, the transmission rate is 1% or less.

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So if schools follow the North Carolina Strong Schools Public Health Toolkit and adhere to the mask mandate, then they will continue to effectively mitigate the spread within schools.

WCNC Charlotte can verify that moving to Plan A did NOT make COVID-19 spread more inside North Carolina schools.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

Connect with Rachel Lundberg via email, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter.

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