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Union County School Board votes to do away with COVID-19 contact tracing, quarantine for those not testing positive, symptomatic

This comes as the board voted to keep face masks optional last week.
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:00 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 12:27 PM EDT
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UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The Union County Board of Education voted Monday to do away with the district’s COVID-19 contact tracing and allow students and staff in quarantine to return to school if they are not positive for the virus or showing symptoms.

The vote was 8-1 in favor of the decision, which is effective immediately. Board members said they would contact district principals as “promptly as possible” and inform them of the decision.

Staff will continue activities as required by law and handle positive and presumptive positive cases, report any positive cases to the Union County Health Department and provide information as required by the health department, the board said.

As of Friday, the district reported 479 positive cases of COVID-19, with more than 7,380 students and staff listed in quarantine.

This decision is in direct opposition of recommendations in the North Carolina Strong Schools Tool Kit, which says contact tracing can help reduce the spread of the virus.

However, it’s not a requirement for local districts, but strongly recommended from state health leaders.

The quarantines rules are still in place for any student or staff member who tests positive, has a presumptive positive case or is experiencing any symptoms.

Monday’s decision comes after the board voted to keep face masks optional last week, despite an outbreak in COVID-19 cases.

Related: Union County school board decides to keep masks optional despite thousands of students in quarantine

Some parents believe it is time to require masks in the schools to keep students and staff safe. Others believe it should be up to each individual family.

Union County remains one of the last districts in the area to keep face masks optional.

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