NC threatens legal action after Union County School Board ends COVID quarantines

NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen during news conference on Nov. 12, 2020. (Photo: Pool)

UNION COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — On Sept. 13, the Union County Board of Education passed a motion to immediately halt all activity of contact tracing and quarantine by Union County School staff and nurses and called for the immediate return of all students who were excluded from school because of COVID-19 exposure.

In response, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services issued a letter to the Board’s Chair outlining required COVID-19 control measures all schools in the state must implement and noting that failure to comply may prompt legal action.

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Schools are required to exclude students and staff who need to quarantine.

“Excluding students from school should be a last resort,” Secretary Cohen said. “The guidance and recommendations in our StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit are designed to safely keep students in classrooms.”

Union County’s seven-day case average is more than five times above the CDC threshold for high transmission and the percent of tests that are positive is 16.2%, NCDHHS said.

The agency also said Union County had the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state for children under 18 for the week ending Sept 11.