Family Masking/Face Covering Update

Swain County Public Schools

February 17, 2022

Swain County Parent/Guardians, 

First, we want to thank you for your support over the last two years! This pandemic has brought many challenges and your support has helped us meet these challenges to keep our students and community safe. Swain County Schools is blessed to serve a community like ours.

Most of you have already begun to hear that change is in the air. Our School Board has reviewed the data, read guidelines, listened to concerned families, and has made the decision to move our schools to masking optional settings beginning February 21, 2022. The motion made by the Board is not intended to override any CDC directions and face masks are encouraged while community transmission levels remain high and substantial. 

Our Public Health Leaders at the state level have also been busy making changes to the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit which has been our guide for daily school operations during the pandemic. The changes to our Toolkit reflect the current stage of the pandemic and below is an outline of changes effective February 21, 2022:

  • Contact tracing and exclusion from school of asymptomatic people after an identified exposure is no longer recommended statewide in schools. 
  • Positive students/staff will continue to quarantine for the first 5 days, returning to school and extracurricular activities with masking required for days 6-10, unless a mask exemption applies. 
  • School nurses will continue to track positive cases and provide return dates. 
  • Close Contacts to a positive will not be required to be excluded from school. 
  • Close Contacts will be asked (not required)  to mask for 10 days following exposure unless a mask exemption applies.  
  • Symptomatic students/staff will be required to be excluded from school until COVID-19 can be ruled out with either a test or doctor's note. 
  • Parents and Staff should continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 before coming to school and all sick students/staff should stay home. 
  • Teachers will monitor student mask use when indicated by the school nurse or parent preference. 
  • Cafeterias will reopen at the discretion of each school principal. While community transmission remains high or substantial distancing of at least 3 feet continues to be recommended. Changes will be made accordingly when community transmission declines. 
  • SCSs will post on weekly COVID number updates beginning February 28, 2022. 
  • Students will continue to be required to wear a mask while on the school bus due to the CDC Transportation Order. 

Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit:

Please know that our School Nurses, throughout the pandemic, have worked hard to understand and educate their schools and community about the guidelines affecting our school system. If you have any questions they are available and willing to help you understand these changes. 

While we are no longer requiring masking in our schools beginning Monday, February 21st, other mitigation strategies are encouraged such as ventilation, distancing of 3 feet when possible, and vaccination. 

Thank you for your continued support for our Schools!