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A to Z: DPS’s COVID-19 preventive measures for 2021-22


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North Carolina public schools are back in session with in-person learning five days a week. We are excited to help our students reconnect with teachers, classmates, and the support systems that only strong public schools can provide. We are also committed to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our students and staff.

Our goals

  • Provide face-to-face instruction for all students
  • Comply with NCDHHS StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit requirements
  • Implement practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • Adjust for expired state and local executive orders

Athletics and extracurricular activities

  • Face coverings will be required
  • Parents and guests will be allowed at indoor events with face coverings and outdoor events with face coverings if adequate distancing is not possible, with no capacity limits
  • Concessions will be offered with prepackaged items
  • Touchless tickets will be used wherever possible
  • Indoor athletes must wear face coverings while competing
  • Weight and locker room access allowed with social distancing and face coverings

Cleaning and hygiene

  • DPS will continue to provide soap, effective hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissues, and other essential supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors
  • DPS will continue to clean occupied spaces with EPA-approved disinfectants for COVID-19

Exposure and health guidelines

  • Following current CDC guidance, DPS will require a 10-day quarantine for exposed staff and students
  • Per the StrongSchoolsNC toolkit, exposed students and staff do not have to quarantine if fully vaccinated
  • Per the StrongSchoolsNC toolkit, exposed students do not have to quarantine if consistently wearing face coverings properly
  • DPS is reactivating the COVID-19 Health Dashboard

Face coverings

Field trips

  • Field trips are allowed while implementing current health and safety precautions during travel and on district transportation

Physical distancing

  • Whenever possible, maintain three feet of distance between students in school settings
  • Whenever possible, maintain six feet of distance between adults and students, and between adults in lines and hallways

Physical education

  • Face coverings are required indoors for all students, and outdoors for students who cannot be physically distanced
  • Students actively engaged in physical activity will not be required to wear face coverings, but must wear them when not engaged in activities
  • Hands must be sanitized before and after class, and equipment will be sanitized between uses whenever possible
  • Health and physical education will be combined throughout the week


  • Staff will continue to complete the Daily Symptom Screener
  • Approved visitors must be screened upon arrival
  • Families should screen students for symptoms every day prior to boarding DPS transportation or arriving at school

School nutrition

  • DPS will encourage the use of outdoor space (weather permitting) and use seating charts to assist with contact tracing
  • DPS will resume using cafeterias or offer meals outside the cafeteria in self-contained packaging
  • Layouts will be modified to encourage a minimum of three feet of physical distancing
  • Schools will customize their breakfast and lunch plans based on their available facilities

Specials and electives

  • All students will receive specials and/or electives in-person in an appropriate classroom
  • Face coverings will be worn during specials
  • Parents and guests will be allowed at indoor events with face coverings and outdoor events with face coverings if adequate distancing is not possible


  • Students and staff are required to wear face coverings
  • Seating charts will be maintained for use in contact tracing
  • Students who become ill at school will not be allowed to ride the bus home
  • Buses are operating at full capacity and are recommended due to carpooling traffic concerns
  • Carpooling families should follow school traffic patterns


  • Approved volunteers providing student educational support or staff professional learning are welcome
  • Parents and guardians may attend parent meetings and approved (public) events
  • All health and safety protocols must be followed including wearing face coverings

What if there’s a possible exposure?

  • If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, DPS staff and the Durham County Department of Public Health collaborate on contact tracing
  • “Close contact” is defined as being within six feet of a confirmed positive case for 15 minutes in a 24-hour period
  • Families of all close contacts will be directly informed by the school or district
  • Students who are close contacts who are not fully vaccinated or did not properly and consistently wear face coverings in the presence of that close contact will be required to quarantine for 10 days
  • Students (and staff) who are fully vaccinated may submit an attestation form and show proof of vaccination to return
  • Quarantined students will receive remote instruction, the format based on the circumstances of the quarantine (such as a full classroom closure or an individual quarantine)