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School district updates COVID-19 guidelines for 2021-22 year, adds further measures for elementary schools
Poole's Mill Elementary School students wear face masks heading into the first day of school in August 2020. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Forsyth County Schools updated its COVID-19 guidelines on Tuesday, Aug. 3, ahead of the 2021-22 school year to give families guidance and add in extra, temporary mitigation measures for its elementary schools.

An announcement released by the district Tuesday states that parents or guardians may choose to have their student self-quarantine. If they make that choice, they must contact a school administrator first.

The statement, posted to the district’s website, also made clear that parents and guardians must still contact their school nurse if their child tests positive for COVID-19. Board of Education Chair Kristin Morrissey said during a July meeting that parents should continue to keep their students home when awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test.

If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 in a classroom or on a school bus, parents and guardians will receive an email. Individuals in sports, activities and clubs will be notified by the coach or advisor.

While middle and high schools will continue with limited COVID-19 measures going into the new school year, the district laid out several new mitigation strategies for its elementary schools, which take effect on the first day of school on Thursday, Aug. 5. These measures will be set in place through Labor Day on Sept. 6.

These measures will include:

  • Avoiding large group settings, especially during lunch and recess

  • Limiting student movement in the building and hallways

  • Holding virtual curriculum nights, staff meetings and PTO events

  • No visitors or field trips

  • Assigned seating in classrooms and buses

  • No student attendance incentives or awards

  • Frequent hand washing throughout the day

  • Thorough cleaning in the building

This announcement of the added mitigation measures came in light of recent worries expressed by Forsyth County parents of younger children who are still unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

While experts continue to work on a vaccine for younger children, it is still only currently available to those aged 12 and up.

Going forward, Bearden and other FCS officials said measures can continue to change based on local data surrounding COVID-19 and the percentage of those who have received the vaccine. 

“We thank our entire Forsyth County community for your continued patience and support,” the announcement states.

Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden originally announced at the Forsyth County Board of Education’s July meeting that the district would have “a normal school year” as long as state and local mandates would allow.

With that, he said schools would be opening up more to the community. Families will be able to visit students, students will be able to attend field trips and the FCS community will be able to participate in more in-person events.

Along with that, the system will no longer be contact tracing or sending “healthy students” into quarantine at home, and face masks are optional for all students and staff.