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Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ COVID-19 committee will review reentry plans before each phase of reopening

The school board voted Tuesday to refine the decision made on Oct. 1, which called for following positivity rates gathered by the health department.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools announced it will use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Indicators for Safer School Opening when it comes to determining in-person learning for students.

The school board voted Tuesday to refine the decision made on Oct. 1, which called for following positivity rates gathered by the Forsyth County Department of Public Health over a 10-day period.

The newly approved guidelines align reopening with the CDC’s Indicators for Safer School Opening. Those indicators include the number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the last 14 days. That’s known as the incidence rate and the percentage of lab tests that are positive during the last 14 days, or the percent positive.

The CDC Core Indicators also require schools to follow five key strategies for opening safely. Those include:

  • Consistent and correct use of masks
  • Social distancing to the largest extent possible
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Contact tracing in collaboration with the local health department

District reopening teams have consulted greatly with the Forsyth County Department of Public Health, their doctors and leadership team and they have advised them to use the metrics as guidance for deciding about school reopening.

The school district said under the guidance, should Forsyth County enter the range the CDC calls the higher or highest risk, the Board of Education Special COVID-19 Committee will revisit a decision about in-person learning.

The school district will also post the incidence rate and the percent positive rates on their “Our Safe Return” page of the district’s website.

The WS/FCS COVID-19 Special Committee will also meet every two weeks before each phase of students returns according to the reopening plan. That’s when they’ll evaluate the metrics and determine if reopening can continue. The school district would then communicate with families about the changes.

The district will also post the COVID-19 cases among staff and students before the majority of elementary students return on Nov. 2.

The school district said, at this time, the dates for reopening remain the same as originally approved.

The WS/FCS COVID-19 Special Committee of the WS/FCS Board of Education will meet virtually Tues., Oct. 20. The committee will meet on Microsoft Teams at 4 p.m.

Video of Oct. 1 school board meeting