BEAUFORT — The Carteret County Board of Education will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the media center of East Carteret High School to consider revised health protocols for the 2021-22 academic year.
School officials, in a special notice regarding the meeting, stated they would discuss revised protocols “in light of the August 10, 2021 revisions to the (N.C. Department of Health and Human Services) StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12).”
The StrongSchools NC Toolkit establishes safety guidelines school districts should follow regarding COVID-19. Those guidelines are now stating staff and students in grades kindergarten through 12 should wear masks, regardless of vaccination status.
The Carteret County Board of Education voted July 28 to make masks optional for students and staff for the new school year. Since then, there has been a spike in COVID-19 cases in the county and state due to the delta variant.
Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials sent a letter, dated Aug. 12, to Carteret County Board of Education Chairperson Clark Jenkins and other school officials in districts that have not mandated mask-wearing for 2021-22 urging them to reconsider their decision.
The letter, signed by Gov. Cooper, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen and State Health Director Dr. Betsy Tilson, states, “Because children under 12 cannot yet get a vaccine and the percent of children 12-18 years old who are vaccinated is low, all students, teachers and staff in grades K-12 should wear masks in schools regardless of vaccination status.”
Friday, the Carteret County Health Department reported there were 74 new COVID-19 cases confirmed since Thursday and one additional hospitalization, making 20 cases at Carteret Health Care. There were 264 cases considered active in the county on Friday. The county reported its 60th COVID-related death Wednesday.
Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.