HAYESVILLE, NC – Clay County students will be returning on August 23, 2021, and this year masks are optional for students and staff for now.
During the July 26, 2021 board meeting, the members voted to not require masks for the upcoming year. However, parents can send their children to school masked if that’s their preference.
83 percent of teachers were in favor of optional masks for this school year. School nurses recommended following NCDHHS and CDC guidance, which requires masks for K-8 for all staff and students. They cited masks’ effectiveness last year.
Only 1 percent of 12–17-year-olds in Clay County have been vaccinated and 34 percent of residents are fully vaccinated.
Current CDC guidance asks that everyone, including vaccinated individuals, wear a mask indoors if in an area of substantial or high transmission. Clay County is listed as a high transmission community by the CDC. Case data demonstrated a 22 percent change in 7-day totals in the area. Many southern states are seeing COVID-19 cases rise as the Delta variant works its way across the region.
Since Clay County Schools (CCS) aren’t requiring masks, online learning will remain an option for families who don’t want to potentially expose their children to COVID-19. However, this year, the school system will be using an online academy. CCS teachers won’t be providing in-person and remote learning to students.
Parents who wish to participate in online learning must inform their child’s principal by August 18.
Any student moved to fully remote instruction during Semester 1 must remain on fully remote instruction through December 22, 2021.
The parent must notify the principal that the student will be returning for Semester 2 by December 17th.
Cautionary measures such as quarantine and isolation for students and staff who are exposed, experiencing symptoms, or test positive for COVID-19 will remain in place.
CCS board applied for grant funding for onsite COVID-19 during the board meeting as well. If received, the $100,000 grant would connect them to a vendor for rapid tests, in-depth testing, and the hiring of either a nurse or nurse’s assistant.
Parents still have the option to refuse the testing of their child for COVID-19.
The in-house testing should help CCS isolate COVID-19 cases within the school system and hopefully prevent quarantining of entire classrooms.