As students return, Wake County schools eliminate temperature checks and COVID-19 health screenings

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake County Public Schools will welcome thousands of students back to the classroom on Thursday. It’s the first day back for students on the traditional school calendar.

The school district will follow safety protocols like wearing masks and physical distancing when possible, but daily health screenings and temperature checks are no longer required.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services removed it as a requirement for schools across the state.

“We still don’t know everything that’s going on with this virus, that’s why I think it’s best the schools continue with the temperature checks, said Ravon Day.

She has a second-grader in the district. Day described her son’s school as being on top of all things relating to COVID-19. Now, she’s not so sure.

“We have a choice in our child’s health as well as our own health because whoever the kids are around they will bring it back to the parents. I think they need to stay on top of it like they were before,” Day continued.

Wake County isn’t alone in its decision to eliminate health screenings and temperature checks. Johnston County Schools has moved away from the added measures as well. The Moore County school district isn’t conducting temperature checks either but, school leaders are still asking parents a series of questions relating to COVID-19 symptoms.

Joanna Oakley has three kids in the Moore County School System. She said she sees both sides of it.“I see the benefits,” said Oakley. “It speeds up the carpool line, but I felt slightly more safe knowing that all the children coming to school were being screened,” she continued.

Durham, Orange, and Chatham County Schools will continue temperature checks and health screenings. But the CDC never required the practice.

Dr. Danny Benjamin, Chair of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Pediatric Trials Network, and Dr. Kanecia Obie Zimmerman, Professor of Pediatrics at Duke and co-chair of the ABC Science Collaborative said in a joint statement, “Schools that adhere to the 12 Principles for Safer Schools established by the ABC Science Collaborative—particularly consistent masking and hand washing—have the best opportunity for safety and success when reopening schools, regardless of whether health screenings are conducted.”

Some people told CBS 17, they still view screenings at schools as an additional safeguard. “I feel more confident knowing they’re being checked at school,” said Lisa Coady who was visiting family from New York.

“A parent can give a kid a Tylenol and send them to school even if they have a temperature. Knowing they’re pre-screened is very effective,” she continued

A Wake County District spokeswoman said when they did temperature checks it was rare they would find a student who had a temperature, and when that student was tested, have COVID-19.

Wake County School personnel will continue to send students home if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

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