Wake County Schools implements new safety policy for schools with COVID clusters

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A new policy is in place for Wake County Schools with COVID clusters.

A district representative told CBS 17, Wake County Schools has not figured out how schools are going to implement a new mask compliance policy.

After 88 possible COVID cases were reported on Friday, which was the conclusion of the first week of the new school year, school leaders are trying to bring down the case counts.

They are asking staff at each school to try and separate kids during mealtimes.

That could mean spacing out kids inside and using outdoor areas, where COVID-19 would be less likely to spread.

The district also announced that schools with clusters will have to report and monitor mask compliance. But as of Monday afternoon, district officials don’t know how that will be enforced.

Adrian Standish is thrilled that her first grader is in school, in-person this year.

She wants to make sure it stays that way

“I’m very grateful for all the school system is doing to protect our children who can’t yet be vaccinated,” said Standish.

Her daughter goes to Joyner Elementary School in Raleigh, where there’s at least one reported COVID case.

Standish hopes there won’t be anymore.

“When they’re not able to be masked, like at lunch, they [should] be outside and as safe as possible, until the vaccine is an option for younger children,” she explained.

That’s one of the new changes Wake County School officials are asking school leaders to do, to try and get a handle on the steep spike of cases throughout the school system.

But at some schools, like North Garner Middle School, parents told CBS 17 they don’t think that’s enough.

“[My kids] love going to school, but they’re a little concerned. They said they have experienced people saying they have COVID,” said Meagan Abrams.

Her 13- and 14-year-old sons don’t feel like their classmates take COVID protocols seriously.

“They said some people are wearing masks and some people are not,” said Abrams. “Nobody is really listening.”

Per the district’s COVID dashboard, 15 students at North Garner Middle School have had COVID, since the beginning of August.

While it’s not considered a cluster, district officials plan to crack down on other campuses with clusters.

A Wake County Schools representative told CBS 17 that at any school with new clusters, staff will be required to monitor and report if people are complying with the mask mandate. But they don’t know how they’re going to do that.

Abrams is worried it may come too late.

“I do want them to be in school, but I also want them to be safe,” she explained. “Their safety is the biggest concern.”

On Sept. 7, the Wake County School Board will meet to discuss other proposed changes to fight COVID in schools.

Some of the topics they will discuss include regular COVID testing for student-athletes and all employees, and a requirement to wear a mask both indoors and outdoors, including during recess and athletic activities.

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