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RTL: Health & Safety

health and safety graphic on blackboard background

Positive Cases in Schools

Individuals who present symptoms at school will be sent home, with directions from public health officials. If a student is unable to leave the school immediately, they will be monitored away from other individuals in a privacy space until they are able to be picked up. Each school will have a privacy area, and both the student and the adult providing supervision in the privacy space must wear face coverings.

When there is a positive COVID-19 case in a school, HCPS will update the COVID-19 District Dashboard with school-affected positives each business day, and weekly quarantine numbers will be posted each Monday morning.

Per the Feb. 10 updates to the NCDHHS StrongSchools NC Public Health Toolkit, individual contact tracing and exclusion from school for asymptomatic individuals will no longer be required. Although exclusion from school will no longer be required after exposure, it is recommended that schools notify potentially exposed students or staff when a COVID-19 case is identified in a school setting. Therefore, the district’s alert call notifications for school-affected cases will resume on Feb. 15, 2022. In an effort to streamline critical communications and school community announcements, these case notification calls will now be sent to families each Friday afternoon on a weekly basis instead of daily. Districtwide notifications for COVID-19 clusters will continue as required by law.

The Henderson County Department of Public Health is responsible for conducting contact tracing. Both the health department and HCPS will provide as transparent reporting as possible while still protecting confidentiality.

The health department will contact parents/guardians directly if their child is identified as having had close contact with a positive COVID case. The school district will not provide personally identifiable information of an infected person.

Families can reference this document, updated Oct. 22, 2021, for more details on “What to Expect When There is a COVID-19 Case in a School.” (English) (Spanish)

Graphic detailing what to expect when there is a COVID-19 case in a school. What HCPS and the Health Department will and will not do, by bullet point in Spanish

Face Coverings

Effective Feb. 15, 2022, face coverings are optional for all Henderson County Public Schools students, staff, and visitors in all indoor school settings, including indoor extracurricular activities. This reflects the Feb. 14, 2022 decision of the Henderson County Board of Public Education.

Effective February 25, 2022, the CDC no longer requires face coverings while traveling on buses and other group transportation settings.


Parents/guardians of students who may be eligible for an exception should download and print the Face Covering Requirement Exception Request form, provide the requested information, including documentation and the signature of a licensed healthcare provider, and then return the form to their child’s school principal for review and approval.

Exception requests will be considered on a case by case basis for any student who should not wear a face covering due to any medical or behavioral condition or disability.

Cleaning & Hygiene

custodian using backpack sprayer on bus

School and district staff will follow prescribed cleaning and disinfecting recommendations, including:

  • Cleaning surfaces at least once a day, prioritizing high-touch areas
  • Daily spraying all classrooms with approved disinfectants
  • Sanitizing seats and other high-touch surfaces on school buses after morning and afternoon routes
  • Providing all classrooms with hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes

Teachers and other school staff will teach and reinforce proper sneezing hygiene, handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or the safe use of hand sanitizer.

Social Distancing

art classroom with desks spaced out

The requirement for 6 feet of social distancing was eliminated in the 2020-2021 school year when schools resumed fully in-person learning. Though no longer required, the current NCDHHS StrongSchoolsNC Toolkit recommends schools continue to maintain 3 feet of distance between students, to the greatest extent possible.

During lunchtime, schools will establish seating charts in the cafeterias where possible. If seating charts are not possible in specific school cafeteria areas, then either the cafeteria seating will be designated to ensure proper social distancing, students will eat in their classrooms, or they will be permitted to eat in outdoor settings.


Face Coverings

Visitors attending indoor athletic events are not required to wear face coverings. The Henderson County Board of Public Education voted on Dec. 13, 2021 to make face coverings optional for all students, staff, and school visitors in all school settings, effective January 1, 2022.

Student-Athlete Quarantines

Quarantine guidance for student-athletes is based on recommendations from CDC, guidance from NCDHHS, and operational agreements among HCPS, the Henderson County Department of Public Health, and Pardee UNC Health Care Sports Medicine athletic trainers.

See the “Close Contact/Quarantine Guidance – Athletics” flowchart in English and Spanish here, and under “Infographics” on the R2L: Communications page.