Learn more about COVID-19 Update: Back-to-School Safety Protocols in Cumberland County Schools
As Cumberland County Schools (CCS) prepares to kick off a new school year and welcome students at traditional schools back to the classroom, the safety of students and staff remains the top priority. District officials recently announced the following COVID-19 safety protocols.
Universal Masking Requirement for Students, Employees and Visitors
In keeping with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit, Cumberland County Schools (CCS) will require all students, staff and visitors to wear face masks at the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
The masking requirement is for everyone, regardless of vaccination status and applies to all schools and district facilities. Masks are also required on all public school transportation. Students will be able to take masks off while eating and drinking and outdoors as long as they are not in a crowded setting or participating in activities that involve close contact with others.
“From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic until now, we have made decisions based on the science and guidance from medical professionals,” said Dr. Marvin Connelly, Jr., CCS superintendent. “Our top priority is to operate our schools in-person all year as safely as possible. Universal masking is one of the best ways we can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
The Cumberland County Board of Education unanimously approved Dr. Connelly’s recommendation for universal masking after receiving an update on the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases in the school system and Cumberland County. A representative from the ABC Collaborative also shared information about the latest science and data in North Carolina. In North Carolina, the Delta variant has been the most commonly circulating variant since the week ending June 26, 2021. According to health officials, Delta spreads more than twice as easily from one person to another, compared with earlier strains.
The Board will periodically review COVID-19 metrics to determine the length of time universal masking will be needed.
CCS Launches Revised COVID-19 Dashboard
Cumberland County Schools (CCS) has launched a revised COVID-19 dashboard to provide up-to-date information on positive COVID-19 cases in the school system. District staff will update the dashboard on Friday of each week. To access the dashboard, visit https://bit.ly/ccscoviddashboard. To learn more about the revised dashboard, watch the overview video.
Free COVID-19 Testing and Other Safety Protocols
Thanks to federal funding, school-based COVID-19 testing is available and will provide another layer of support to help keep students and staff safe. While not required, parents will have the opportunity to opt-in to free COVID-19 testing for their students.
CCS schools and offices will refer individuals to diagnostic testing who have symptoms of COVID-19. Through the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ partnership with MAKO, a COVID-19 testing company, CCS will offer free rapid (antigen) testing on-site to facilitate quick COVID-19 diagnoses. Rapid antigen testing works to prevent in-school transmission while minimizing face-to-face learning time lost.
The district will also aim to maintain a minimum of three feet of distance between students and a minimum of six feet of distance between adults, to the greatest extent possible.
Learn more about the district’s COVID-19 safety protocols here.