The StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit (K-12) was updated late yesterday, March 24th. Please see the Changes, Updates, and New Resources NCDHHS K-12 Public Health Guidance- Key Changes document for further clarification related to updated recommendations for Plan A, daily symptom screenings and the new Returning from Exclusion Flow Chart.
In order to support education leaders in meeting the updated K-12 public health requirements and recommendations, NCDHHS has revised the documents, particularly to ensure clarity around the following information:
- Updated Recommendations for Plan A
Physical distancing is recommended under Plan A at a minimum of three feet and whenever feasible between students, and at a minimum of six feet between adults. There is no required minimum physical distancing under Plan A. Under Plan A, required mitigation strategies are even more critical: wearing cloth face coverings, keeping hands washed and surfaces clean, and the recommended emphasis on cohorting students and teachers into groups that will not intermix. Physical distancing of six feet at all times is still required under Plan B.
- Daily Symptom Screenings
NC DHHS is aligning with the CDC that does not currently recommend schools conduct daily symptom screening for students. However, parents, caregivers, or guardians (“caregivers”) should be strongly encouraged to monitor their children for symptoms of infectious illness every day through home-based symptom screening. Students who are sick should not attend school in-person. The CDC still recommends considering screening for employees. Adults are more likely to have symptoms with COVID-19 than students and are more likely to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Data from studies in school settings show that viral transmission is more likely adult to adult or adult to child than child to child or child to adult.
K-12 COVID-19 Antigen Testing Interim Guidance updated March 17th: Antigen Testing Guidance was updated on March 17th to include antigen testing in private school settings and recommendations on testing strategies for athletes, holiday/break testing and special events.
National Healthy Schools Day will be celebrated on April 6, 2021, and the theme for this year is Clean Air in Every School. National Healthy Schools Day is coordinated by Healthy Schools Network in partnership with many agencies and organizations. They promote the use of EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools guidance as well as other EPA environmental health guidelines and programs for schools and children’s health.