NEW BERN, N.C. — Craven County Schools announced new safety requirements, including the use of masks by students and staff in all cases, in a special called meeting on Tuesday.

The school system’s board of education passed the new updated safety requirements based on COVID data and trends for Craven County, school officials said in a press release. The following updates have been approved and are effective immediately:

• All students and Staff in grades PreK-13 will be required to wear masks. Previously, masks were optional for grades 9-12.
• All employees will be required to wear masks at all Craven County School offices and buildings.
• Only parents and guardians along with their child(ren) should attend orientation this week to limit the number of people on our school campuses.
• Visitors and volunteers will not be permitted on campus to help mitigate the spread of COVID.

School officials also said another health protocol that was passed by the Board of Education for the 2021-2022 is COVID diagnostic testing for students and staff. Below are more details that were released.

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“This testing option is a service for our families, students, and employees to help when an individual is experiencing symptoms and/or is required to quarantine and is in need of a FREE COVID Test for results within 24 hours. This service is a choice and all those interested must complete a form giving consent through an online enrollment portal stating their intent to participate. This FREE service will also be extended to our families and will be especially helpful when it is difficult to find a local health care provider able to test quickly. This test will be performed by the school nurse with Mako Labs providing the results.

“Any parents/guardians who enroll for this service will be contacted prior to their student being tested if they are symptomatic and/or considered a close contact. Having our schools perform this service will allow our students and staff to be able to return to school quicker in the event of a negative test result. In partnership with the Craven County Health Department, Craven County Schools will not accept home COVID test results as a valid measure for returning to school for staff and/or students. This is based on the need for all positive COVID results to be formally reported to the state.”