COVID-19 | NC Safety Measures for In-person K-12 Instruction

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Governor Roy Cooper announced July 14, 2020 safety measures to allow in-person academic instruction to resume this fall.

The Governor announced that, of the three options the state was considering, Plan B would be the option pursued, which allows for to be open for both in-person and remote learning.  Each school district must offer a remote learning option for students.  A school district may also offer in-person instruction for students.  A school district that chooses to offer in-person instruction must comply with the requirements listed below.  The Secretary of Health and Human Services recognized that it would be difficult to comply with all of these requirements.  The requirements are as follows:

  • Face coverings are required for all students, teachers, staff, and anyone visiting school grounds.  This requirement applies for all students from kindergarten through high school.  The State will provide at least five face coverings for each student, teacher, and staff member.
  • Schools will be required to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.
  • Schools must have staff monitor arrival and dismissal to discourage students congregating.
  • Schools must conduct daily health screenings (including temperature checks) of anyone entering the building.
  • Schools will be required to isolate students that fail a health screening to ensure the student’s safe return home.
  • Schools must provide extra time for sanitation (like hand-washing), must provide adequate supplies of soap and hand sanitizer, and must do thorough cleanings of buildings, equipment, and buses.
  • Schools must limit non-essential visitors and use of school facilities by outside organizations.
  • Schools must discontinue the use of any self-service food or beverage distribution.
  • Schools must discontinue large gatherings like assemblies if social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Schools must choose physical education activities that limit the use of shared equipment and any close contact between students during these activities must be limited and brief.

Plan B also includes additional recommendations that are not required:

  • Schools should consider designating hallways and entrances/exits for one-way traffic.
  • Schools should consider keeping students and teachers in small cohort groups to limit greater interactions.
  • Schools may need to have students eat lunch in classrooms if social distancing cannot be maintained in a cafeteria.

The Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit is available here: https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/guidance/Strong-Schools-NC-Public-Health-Toolkit.pdf

To read the state’s full press release, click here: https://governor.nc.gov/news/north-carolina-k-12-public-schools-require-key-safety-measures-allow-person-instruction

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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