For Immediate Release: Sept. 15, 2021
Contact: Janson Silvers (336) 370-8307
GCS Adopts Face Covering Policy
Policy and monthly votes required by new state law
Greensboro, N.C. – The Guilford County Board of Education adopted a new policy requiring the use of face coverings or masks in district schools and facilities. The policy was adopted last evening during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting.
The policy affirms a decision made by the board prior to the opening of schools in August. Per public health officials, eight peer-reviewed studies<nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fabcsciencecollaborative.org%2Fabc-science-collaborative-finds-schools-are-safe-even-during-covid-19-winter-surge-transmission-is-higher-for…> conducted in North Carolina and six other states indicate that masking helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 in school settings.
The board’s policy aligns with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Guilford County Department of Public Health.
The board adopted the policy in response to a new state law (S.L. 2021-130) requiring school boards to adopt a formal policy regarding the use of face coverings or masks in public schools. Per the new law and policy, the board must vote monthly to keep the masking requirements in place.
“Along with vaccination, which is the primary prevention tool we have available to us, masking plays a vital role in keeping schools open for in-person learning by limiting the in-school transmission of COVID-19,” said Nancy Giurato, senior director of health services.
The policy is particularly important given Guilford County’s low vaccination rates for teenagers and young adults, and with vaccinations not yet available for children under age 12, according to public health officials.
“Our students and staff have responded well to the masking policy and the other health protocols we have in place,” said Superintendent Sharon Contreras, noting the dire impact the pandemic has had on student learning. “Our goal is to limit disruptions to in-person learning as much as possible while keeping everyone as healthy and safe as possible.”
Additional information regarding GCS’ health protocols and procedures<nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gcsnc.com%2Fsite%2FDefault.aspx%3FPageID%3D74992&data=04%7C01%7Csilverj%40gcsnc.com%7C1df243a8775f447e24ab08d97862e648%7C9ae2fb1fdea24c…> is available on the district’s Reopening Schools 2021 tab on the GCS website (www.gcsnc.com<nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.gcsnc.com%2F&data=04%7C01%7Csilverj%40gcsnc.com%7C1df243a8775f447e24ab08d97862e648%7C9ae2fb1fdea24c4381947624fcbbb30c%7C0%7C0%7C6376731…>.)
About Guilford County Schools
Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina and one of the 50th largest of more than 14,000 in the United States, serves more than 70,000 PK-12 students at 126 schools. With approximately 9,800 employees, GCS works in partnership with parents, businesses, colleges and the community to deliver an education that connects student interests and skills with the careers and economy of our future here and around the world. We provide educational choices to meet individual student needs in a culturally diverse citizenship and new opportunities to help our students Soar to Greatness. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.gcsnc.com.
This e-mail is for the sole use of the individual for whom it is intended. If you are neither the intended recipient, nor agent responsible for delivering this e-mail to the intended recipient, any disclosure, retransmission, copying, or taking action in reliance on this information is strictly prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please notify the person transmitting the information immediately. All e-mail correspondence to and from this e-mail address may be subject to NC Public Records Law which result in monitoring and disclosure to third parties, including law enforcement. In compliance with federal laws, Guilford County Schools administers all educational programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination because of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, color, age, military service, disability or gender, except where exemption is appropriate and allowed by law. Refer to the Board of Education’s Discrimination Free Environment Policy AC for a complete statement. Inquiries or complaints should be directed to the Guilford County Schools Compliance Officer, 120 Franklin Boulevard, Greensboro, NC 27401; 336-370-8154