CMS will end contact tracing from Monday, February 21

Principals and staff are encouraged to prepare for the likelihood that masks will soon become optional for students, staff and visitors.

CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools said they will no longer conduct contact tracing to identify close contacts of people known to have tested positive for COVID-19 starting Monday, Feb. 21.

The decision follows changes to the NCDHHS StrongSchools toolkit, the district said.

Quarantine and exclusion from school will only apply to students and staff who test positive. They will need to quarantine for at least five days with declining symptoms before returning to school, according to the district.

CMS said close contacts or people potentially exposed to the virus will not be required to self-quarantine, even if exposed to someone in their household who has tested positive.

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CMS will notify families and staff of potential exposures through its dashboard which includes positive cases at each school. Clusters will also be flagged.

Data regarding quarantines and close contacts will no longer be reported and the dashboard will now be updated several times a week.

Schools will also send a notification to families in the weeks the school learns that a student or staff member has tested positive.

In addition to these school-wide notifications, track teams and other after-school clubs that have a defined roster of participants will be notified if a team or club member tests positive.

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CMS encourages all families and staff to take appropriate safety measures and follow the recommendations outlined in the toolbox if informed of potential exposure: monitor symptoms, get tested and wear a mask for 10 days.

CMS will continue to offer testing at least until the end of the school year for students whose families have consented to the testing program. The district said it will also continue its partnership with our local county health department and vaccine/testing providers to help increase awareness of the importance of vaccines and how/where to access testing.

CMS team members who test positive can still follow district procedures to qualify for contagious illness leave. Team members who are close contacts or potentially exposed will no longer be eligible for this leave, as quarantines are no longer necessary for these groups. Team members who show symptoms should get tested, wear a mask and can use their own time off to cover any sick time.

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At this time, Universal Indoor Masking remains in effect for all CMS facilities and transports. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board will consider changes to this current policy at its next board meeting on February 22.

Principals and staff are encouraged to prepare for the likelihood that masks will soon become optional for students, staff and visitors after Mecklenburg County ended the countywide mask mandate effective February 26 and Governor Cooper’s announcement recommending schools and local governments move to an optional mask policy by March 7.

“We remain committed to the safety of our students, staff, and community. Remember to stay home if you or your student are sick or exhibiting symptoms,” the district said in a statement. “Get vaccinated if eligible, wear a mask and get tested if you have symptoms. Free testing is available for students and school staff. Interested families should contact their school to find out how register for the test.”

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