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Cooper: Schools should require masks indoors for students, teachers in kindergarten through 8th grade

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:22 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2021 at 1:45 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - North Carolina’s StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit has been updated to state that schools should require masks indoors for everyone – students and teachers – in kindergarten through 8th grade, Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday

The update also directs schools to ensure unvaccinated high school students and teachers wear masks indoors.

“The most important work our state will do next month is getting all our school children back into the classrooms safely for in-person learning,” Cooper said. " That’s the best way for them to learn, and we want their school days to be as close to normal as possible after a year of disruption. But many students can’t get their shots because children under 12 can’t be vaccinated yet. We all need to work together to keep our younger children in the classroom and safe. One way to protect them is to get vaccinated yourself.”

The updated provisions in the Toolkit go into effect at 5 p.m. on July 30.

“With only 24 percent of North Carolinians ages 12 to 17 fully vaccinated and because anyone under the age of 12 can not be vaccinated yet, we still have a long way to go,” Dr. Mandy Cohen said. “Schools need to use the addition safety protocols outlined in the StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit to continue to protect students and staff as we enter a new school year.”

Quarantine guidance also has been updated.

“Anyone who is full vaccinated and does not have symptoms does not have to quarantine after a close contact with someone who has COVID-19,” Cohen said. “In addition, unvaccinated students do not have to quarantine after close contact if students were appropriately and consistently wearing masks.”

The Toolkit can be found below.

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