NCDHHS: K-12 schools not a driver of COVID-19 spread

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – During the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s monthly meeting, the state health director said it did not appear COVID-19 cases in K-12 schools were drivers for the rise in cases across the state.

There are 34 active clusters in K-12 settings across the state. Within those, there are a total of 297 cases associated with active clusters in child care, schools, and higher education settings.

Of those cases, 182 are in students and 115 are in staff. 

With the state having more than 285,000 cases, it means K-12 clusters make up just .1% of cases statewide so far.

“Part of our surge, we can’t pinpoint that on those clusters coming from K-12, which is good,” said state health director Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson.

Tilson said college and universities were driving cases up.

With more schools opening, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services anticipated that cases in schools would be based on the spread happening in the community around them. They did not anticipate K-12 schools would be impacting the community.

Tilson said the state believes children are less likely to have and spread COVID-19. 

“We definitely know there are children who can have severe illness but in general they have milder illness or maybe no symptoms,” said Tilson.


A toolkit to help guide districts through reopening will be made available within the next day, according to Tilson. It includes instructions on what to do if a child exhibits symptoms. A recent update to the plan allows for a student who had screened out due to symptoms, diagnosis, or
exposure can return to school without a COVID-19 test if they have a doctor’s note that says they are good to return.

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