End of contact tracing in North Carolina schools

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PITT COUNTY, NC (WITN) — North Carolina health officials changed COVID-19 guidelines this month to reduce the number of students being sent home after being exposed to COVID-19.

Masks are optional at Pitt County schools, nor are school administrators required to notify students if they have been exposed to COVID-19.

New guidance from the NC StrongSchools Toolkit indicates that individual contact tracing and school exclusion for asymptomatic individuals after identified exposure to COVID-19 is no longer recommended statewide at K schools. -12. The guidelines came into effect on Monday.

Pitt County parent Kristen Hamilton and her children Keegan and Raegan handled the changes first hand.

A week after schools in Pitt County made masks optional, Raegan Hamilton had a 100-degree fever and tested positive for COVID-19.

Kristen Hamilton still supports Pitt County’s decision to make masks optional.

“She could have picked it up anywhere. I’m glad she still doesn’t have to wear the mask at school,” Hamilton said.

The thing Hamilton isn’t happy about is that she said she was told her daughter’s classmates weren’t told they may have been exposed to the virus.

“I spoke with Raegan’s teacher and asked if they were going to let the other parents know there was a case of COVID in the class and she said ‘no, we’re not mandated to do it. do,'” Hamilton said.

Gov. Roy Cooper was in East Carolina on Tuesday and WITN asked him about Hamilton’s situation and the state’s recommendations to scrap contact tracing. Cooper did not answer the question directly.

The number one issue is making sure our children are safely back in school in person,” Cooper said.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley also spoke.

“Anyone over the age of five is eligible for vaccination and it allows you to protect yourself and your family members. For school districts that have moved to optional masking, you can still wear a properly fitted mask to have an extra layer of protection,” Kinsley said.

Beaufort, Jones, Pamlico, Onslow Craven, Carteret, Greene, Lenoir, Tyrrell and Pitt County school districts allow masks to be optional.

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