What are the COVID policies for each Charlotte-area school district? Here are the plans

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Another school year is starting in the Charlotte area amid the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning some students will still have to follow virus-related policies in order to stay in the classroom.

With COVID vaccines now available to all school-age kids and new variants still being reported, school districts continue to update their guidelines.

This back-to-school season also arrives as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revises some COVID-related recommendations, including its support for “Test to Stay” programs that were popular in schools.

Here’s what to know about what COVID policies, if any, will be in place in your local school district as the 2022-23 school year kicks off.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools COVID policy

Students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools won’t be required to wear masks in the classroom, according to the district’s online guidance, nor will they be required on school buses.

Students are also not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but the district is “encouraging anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.”

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they’re expected to stay home from school, and parents or guardians should notify their student’s principal. The student needs to isolate until they’re feeling better, haven’t had a fever for “at least 24 hours” without fever-reducing medication and have gone at least five days since testing positive.

Students who develop symptoms should be kept home until they get tested. If they test negative and aren’t running a fever, they can return to school.

Those who are exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 won’t be required to quarantine, but parents and guardians should watch closely for symptoms. That policy applies to kids living in the same household.

Cabarrus County Schools COVID policy

Cabarrus County students who test positive for COVID-19 or develop symptoms should stay home for five days, the district’s policy states.

Students exposed to COVID-19 don’t have to quarantine, but the school will notify families if a student in their child’s class tests positive. If students develop symptoms after an exposure, they should get tested, the district’s policy recommends.

Masks are optional in school buildings and on school buses.

Gaston County Schools COVID policy

Gaston County will not require students to mask up in school or on school buses, per the district’s guidelines.

Only students who test positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms are expected to stay home from school. Anyone who tests positive is expected to stay home for five days.

Schools will send weekly emails to families on the COVID-19 situation in the building.

Iredell-Statesville Schools COVID policy

“Iredell-Statesville Schools will continue to follow the state guidelines when it comes to COVID protocol and procedures,” district spokeswoman Jada Jonas told The Charlotte Observer in an email.

Like the latter half of the 2021-22 school year, masks will be optional in schools and students aren’t required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, she said.

Lincoln County Schools COVID policy

Lincoln County Schools will be mask optional for the start of the 2022-23 school year, district spokeswoman Karen Dellinger told the Observer in an email.

The district will follow CDC guidelines for its policy on quarantining for students who develop symptoms, test positive and/or are exposed to the virus.

Union County Public Schools COVID policy

“UCPS does not have new COVID policies or restrictions this year,” assistant superintendent Tahira Stalberte told the Observer in an email.