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CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

Cooper: K-8 students, staff should wear masks

Posted on July 22, 2021

COVID-19Local news
Local health officials ask county residents to practice the three Ws: Wear a cloth face covering when with other people, remain 6 feet apart, avoiding close contact, and wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Stock photo | Pixabay

Local health officials ask county residents to practice the three Ws: Wear a cloth face covering when with other people, remain 6 feet apart, avoiding close contact, and wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

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Gov. Roy Cooper says school districts should require masks indoors for all kindergarten through eighth grade students and school employees regardless of their vaccination status.

Staff members and students at the high school level who aren’t vaccinated should also wear masks indoors, Cooper said.

“The most important work our state will do next month is getting all our schoolchildren back into the classrooms safely for in-person learning,” Cooper said during a Wednesday news conference. “That’s the best way for them to learn, and we want their school days to be as close to normal as possible, especially after a year of disruption.”

Cooper, along with N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, shared updated public health guidance for K-12 schools as they prepare for the upcoming school year.

The updated StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit is aligned with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Academy of Pediatrics guidance, which urges that everything possible be done to keep students in schools and emphasizes continued masking, according to the state.

The state’s toolkit for schools provides direction on quarantining after COVID exposure, physical distancing, testing, transportation, cleaning and other considerations.

State officials say 24% of youths ages 12-17 are fully vaccinated in North Carolina. Children under 12 can’t get vaccinated yet. Officials say 60% of North Carolinian adults 18 and older have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

State health officials say unvaccinated people account for the vast majority — 94% — of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in North Carolina.

Cooper said his executive order that established a statewide mask mandate will expire this month.

The state reported 1,434 new COVID-19 cases with a 7.9% positivity rate. Data shows 694 people were hospitalized.

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