NORTH CAROLINA - New health guidelines released Monday represent a first step to help North Carolina K-12 public schools find a safe way to allow in-person instruction for the 2020-21 academic year.
The StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12)lays out a comprehensive set of baseline health practices that public schools are recommended to follow to minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19 for students, staff, and families.
Schools are asked to plan for reopening under three scenarios:
- Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing
- Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing
- Plan C: Remote Learning Only
NC DHHS will announce by July 1 which of the three plans should be implemented for schools to most safely reopen. The remaining plans may be needed if the state’s COVID-19 metrics change over time.
The Public Health Toolkit was developed collaboratively by DHHS and DPI with input from a range of stakeholders across the state, including local superintendents, State Board of Education members, the Governor’s Teacher Advisory Council, and members of the Governor’s COVID-19 Education and Nutrition Working Group.
The StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit will be a companion to operational guidance under development by DPI that will offer strategies for how to implement the public health guidance, and cover other non-health areas for reopening planning, including scheduling, instructional practice, and staff training.
For example, it requires students and others to be screened for illness before entering school, and requires floor markings to maintain social distance. It also includes sample screening symptom checklists in English and Spanish, a flow chart protocol for handling suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, and a checklist of infection control supplies schools may need.
The Toolkit will be updated as new health guidance is released by the CDC and additional resources are added.
Questions about the StrongSchoolsNC Public Heath Toolkit should be directed to StrongSchoolsNC@dhhs.nc.gov.