Since the start of the school year, 547 students and 291 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Guilford County Schools District. 

“The reality is that we're not done with COVID-19. People are still getting sick and Guilford County Schools continues to use best practices to keep our students and staff healthy,” says Chief Student Services Officer Dominick Robinson.

Robinson says the district has systems in place to handle the impacts of these cases. For instance, the county is “one-to-one,” meaning every student has a device that allows them to stay in communication with their teachers and lessons when they can’t be in school.

Masks are optional in the school district following state guidelines, but Robinson says if a student has symptoms they should get tested or stay home for at least five days. If a student tests positive, they must isolate for five days and wear a mask for the week they return to school. 

Dr. Iulia Vann with the Guilford County Health Department says the county is currently at a low level for transmission, but that there is still work to be done with youth vaccinations. 

“Our five to 11-year-olds in Guilford County, we have about 28% that are vaccinated,” she says. “And when we’re looking at our 12 to 17-year-olds, we’re at 52% that are fully vaccinated.” 

Vann says the Guilford County Health Department is working with the school district to develop strategies that make it easy for families to get their children vaccinated. 

“We're using our mobile units to go out and provide vaccinations. We have extended hours in our clinics to allow for parents to come and get their kids vaccinated after after work,” she says. “We know that sometimes it's difficult to try to balance your professional life and your family life. So we’re trying to make it as simple as possible.”

Vann says with the respiratory viruses season coming up, she recommends people get their flu vaccine as well. 

More information about COVID-19 guidelines, vaccines and testing can be found at COVID-19 data for Guilford County Schools can be found on their website.

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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