Health and Safety

  • Q: What is the guidance for staff/student COVID-19 cases?

    A: Students and staff:

    • Who test positive for COVID-19
    • Show symptoms of COVID-19
    • Had contact with a person with COVID-19 Should stay home and not come to school or report to work in the school facility until certain criteria has been met.

    Q: What is the criteria for returning to school or work at a school or office facility (adhere to the following process for allowing a student or staff member to return to school).

    A: If a person has had a negative PCR COVID-19 test, they can return to school once there is no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines and they have felt well for 24 hours.
    If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical professional based on a test or their symptoms or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had symptoms, they should not be at school and should stay at home until they (or a family member if younger
    child) can answer YES to the following three questions:

    1. Has it been at least 10 days since the child first had symptoms?
    2. Has it been at least 24 hours since the child had a fever (without using fever-reducing medicine)?
    3. Has there been an improvement, including cough and shortness of breath?

    A person can return to school if there is a confirmed diagnosis other than COVID-19 (e.g., stomach virus, ear infection). Persons should follow normal school policies to return to school.

    • If a student/employee has been diagnosed with COVID-19 but does not have symptoms, they must remain out of school
    until 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test, assuming they have not
    subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

    • If a student/employee that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has been presumed positive by a medical professional
    due to symptoms, they are not required to have documentation of a negative test in order to return to school.

    • If a student/employee has been determined to have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, they
    must remain out of school for 14 days since the last date of exposure unless they test positive. In which case, exclusion
    criteria above would apply. They must complete the full 14 days of quarantine, even if they test negative.


    Q: What are procedures for staff, students and visitors who enter a school or facility?

    A: All schools and facilities will:

    • Temperature check any student, staff, or essential visitor entering the building or facility. Anyone with a temperature of
    100.4 degrees or greater will not be allowed to enter the school building or facility.

    • Screen for COVID-19 symptoms anyone entering a building or facility utilizing the screening tool provided by

    • Limit non-essential visitors entering the building or facility.

    Q: Will social, emotional and mental health support be available for students and staff? Is the support available in a face-to-face, remote and/or virtual setting?

    A: Yes. Social, emotional, and mental health support will be available at each school. School counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, and school-based therapists will provide needed support for students and staff in crisis or as needed on
    an ongoing basis. Social, emotional, and mental health support will be available in face-to-face, remote, and/or virtual settings.

    Q: Is a face covering/face mask required?

    A: Yes. According to state guidelines, all students from Kindergarten through 12th grade and all teachers, staff, and adult visitors are required to wear face coverings in school buildings on buses and on school grounds when they are or may be within 6 feet
    of another person. Unless the person (or family member, for a student) states that an exception applies, is eating, or is engaged in strenuous physical activity and able to maintain 6 feet distance from other people.


    Q: Are there exceptions to wearing face coverings/face masks?

    A: Yes. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on:

    • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious.

    • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

    • Anyone who cannot tolerate a cloth face covering due to developmental, medical or behavioral health needs.

    • Other health exceptions may also apply.

    Q: Are face shields allowed instead of face coverings/masks?

    A: Yes. Face shields are an allowed substitute for individuals who have difficulties wearing a cloth face covering/mask. If face shields are used without also wearing a mask, they should wrap around the sides of the wearer’s face and extend to below the
    chin. Disposable face shields should only be worn for a single use. Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.

    However, for certain individuals, the use of cloth face coverings by teachers or others may pose a challenge, such as students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students receiving speech/language services, infants and young students in early education programs, students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and English-language learners. There are products such as transparent/clear masks or face coverings with a see-through panel in the front, but availability may vary depending on the setting and supply. If available, a transparent face mask may be a better option for protection that allows visibility. However, if a transparent face mask is unavailable, a face shield may be used as a substitute until or unless a transparent mask becomes

    In addition, per Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 147 frequently asked questions, face shields are an allowed substitute for individuals who have difficulties wearing a cloth face covering. 

    The CDC does not currently recommend a face shield as a replacement for a cloth face covering.


    Q: Are mask breaks for students, teachers and staff recommended?

    A: Yes. It is recommended schools consider building in time throughout the day when students, teachers, and staff can take short breaks from wearing face coverings at times and in settings where risk for transmission is lower (e.g. outside, when air
    circulation is increased by opening windows, and when people are consistently 6 feet apart.

    Q: Will all schools have nurses for the 2020-2021 school year?

    A: Yes. All 53 schools will have an assigned nurse for the 2020-2021 school year.

    Q: Is there potential for classrooms or school facilities to close due to COVID-19?

    A: Yes. UCPS will continue to work closely with the Union County Health Department to take appropriate steps in the event a student or staff member tests positive for COVID. Each situation is unique and may require cleaning of a classroom/area, school
    facility, closure of a classroom, or closure of a building.

    Q: Are fire drills, lockdown drills and tornado drills required?

    A: After conversations with law enforcement, fire marshal’s office, and emergency management, a decision was made to complete all drills in a simulated manner. Students and staff will remain in the classroom and review procedures and guidelines
    for fire, lockdown, and tornado drills. This would be completed with groups of students during the first week of school and once per month. This process will be followed until further notice.