OXFORD — Granville County schools could require vaccinations or weekly COVID-19 testing for all staff members.
During the school board’s Monday evening meeting, Granville County Public Schools administrators recommended requiring proof of vaccinations or once-a-week COVID-19 testing.
The proposal would cover full-time staff, part-time staff, and volunteer coaches. The reason is to stop the rise of COVID-19 numbers in the school system, and find any infections among staff members who may not have any obvious symptoms.
But board members have not decided on whether or not vaccinations or frequent testing will be required for all staff in the district. Instead, they posed some questions that district staff members were unable to answer at the time.
Superintendent Alisa McLean’s staff also advised requiring student-athletes to be required to be vaccinated or participate in weekly tests, a suggestion that comes after five Granville school sports teams ran into COVID-19 issues.
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services officials on Tuesday reported that they’re tracking a COVID-19 cluster at J.F. Webb High School. Seven students there have tested positive for the virus.
Student athletes already “are to wear their mask at any point they are not actively participating in a game,” school board chairman David Richardson said.
Richardson says that if vaccinations or weekly testing are required, the board is not sure what that procedure will be, including whether vaccinated students will not be required to test, or if vaccinated students exposed to the virus but who test negative will have to be quarantined or not.
He said board members asked for more research on the recommendations before moving forward with any decisions.
Many parents voiced their concerns with testing the students and the current mask mandates. Some asked the board about making masks optional during recess or outdoor activities.
Board member Amanda LaBrecque moved to make masking optional for students while outside, but her motion failed.
“The same masking policy we have in place is still in place,” Richardson said. “We require masks on our property unless a student can be 6 feet away from each other during recess or a break.”
Both issues will be revisited during the next school board meeting in October. If it’s decided to require vaccinations or weekly testing, the deadline for staff members to submit proof of vaccination (at least the first shot) is Nov. 1.
The board also revisits mask requirements each month.