SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – The Johnston County Board of Education made another revision to its masking rule during a special session Monday afternoon.

Last week, the district decided to transition to masks optional but with the following stipulations:

  • The district will monitor the percent excluded by COVID-19 at each campus or school and provide a daily report on the district’s COVID-19 dashboard on where each school stands.
  • If a school or campus rises above 4% exclusion rate, that campus will then be required to shift to required masks for the next 10 days.
  • On day 10 at 5 p.m., the percent excluded will again be assessed and it will be determined whether or not the campus can return to optional face coverings.

Beginning Feb. 21, masks will be optional for all students, staff, and guests without any stipulations. Face coverings would still be required on buses as required by current federal regulations. 

The change comes after the state updated its Strong Schools NC Toolkit on Thursday. It goes into effect Feb. 21.

The updated toolkit includes changes to contact tracing, no longer recommends individual contact tracing. New guidance also recommend students and staff stay home only if they have COVID-19 symptoms or test positive. Asymptomatic people are no longer required to stay home following exposure either.