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July 02, 2022

Gov. Cooper encourages schools and local governments to end mask mandates

Today (Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022), Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 metrics and trends, according to a Governor’s Office press release. As North Carolina’s COVID-19 metrics continue to move in the right direction and with vaccines widely available, Governor Cooper encouraged schools and local governments to end their mask mandates.
 
“We are taking a positive step on mask requirements to help us move safely toward a more normal day to day life,” said Governor Cooper. “It’s time to focus on getting our children a good education and improving our schools, no matter how you feel about masks.”
 
As entities decide how to move forward, people and businesses should continue to make the best decisions for themselves, their employees and their customers. There are still some places, such as health care, long-term care and transportation like airplanes, where a mask will be required because of the setting or federal regulations.
 
As it has throughout the pandemic, North Carolina is adapting its response based on the data and for the current stage of the pandemic. Vaccines and boosters are widely available and have protected millions of people against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Treatment is available for those at higher risk of severe disease. And the state’s COVID-19 trends are decreasing, lowering the risk of infection, and improving hospital capacity.
 
“NCDHHS has always been committed to using the right tools at the right time to combat COVID-19 and chart a course for us all to get back to the people, experiences, and places we love,” said Secretary Kinsley. “At this time, the most effective tools are vaccines and boosters. Everyone five and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine and everyone 12 and older should get a booster as soon as they are eligible. It’s not too late to vaccinate.”

To date, North Carolina has administered over 15.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 71 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated. About 75 percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 96 percent of North Carolinians 65 and over. About 51 percent of eligible adults have received their booster shot.

 

North Carolinians can learn more about the state’s vaccine distribution at myspot.nc.gov (English) or Vacunate.nc.gov (Spanish). Find a nearby vaccine provider using NCDHHS’ online tool, Find a Vaccine Location. The state’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline number is 888-675-4567.
 

View a summary of the changes to the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit and the ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/media/3839/open

or read the text below:

Changes to K12 StrongSchoolsNC and ChildCareStrongNC Toolkits
Effective March 7, 2022


K12 StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit


As we emerge from the latest surge, the COVID19 landscape looks different today than it did two years
ago or even two months ago. We continue to learn more about the virus and have effective tools to
reduce to risk to people. As it has throughout the pandemic, NCDHHS adapts its response based on the
emerging science and evidence to best protect North Carolinians and use the tools we have to get back
to the people, experiences, and places we love.


Vaccines and boosters are widely available and help protect against severe illness,
hospitalization, and death.

Treatment is available for those at higher risk of severe disease.

Trends are decreasing, lowering the risk of infection, and improving hospital capacity.

At this phase in the pandemic, NCDHHS recommends that schools:

Promote vaccinations and boosters for students and staff by providing accurate information and
hosting vaccination events

Participate in the School Testing Program

Consider moving to voluntary masking at the discretion of local authorities as universal masking
is a less important tool in lower risk settings like schools.

Masks are recommended in indoor settings for people at high risk for severe disease and who
are not up to date on vaccines

Masks are required following a COVID infection and recommended after a COVID exposure.

Because masks can add a layer of protection for those who want it, schools should support
students and staff who choose to wear a mask.

 

*     *     *
ChildCareStrongNC Toolkit

As we emerge from the latest surge, the COVID19 landscape looks different today than it did two years
ago or even two months ago. We continue to learn more about the virus and have effective tools to
reduce to risk to people. As it has throughout the pandemic, NCDHHS adapts its response based on the
emerging science and evidence to best protect North Carolinians and use the tools we have to get back
to the people, experiences, and places we love.

Vaccines and boosters are widely available and help protect against severe illness,
hospitalization, and death.

Treatment is available for those at higher risk of severe disease.

Trends are decreasing, lowering the risk of infection, and improving hospital capacity.

At this phase in the pandemic, NCDHHS recommends that schools:

Promote vaccinations and boosters for students and staff by providing accurate information and
hosting vaccination events
Consider moving to voluntary masking at the discretion of local authorities as universal masking
is a less important tool in lower risk settings like schools.

Masks are recommended in indoor settings for people at high risk for severe disease and who
are not up to date on vaccines.

Masks are required following a COVID infection and recommended after a COVID exposure.

Because masks can add a layer of protection for those who want it, schools should support
students and staff who choose to wear a mask.

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