Guilford County Health Department encourages vaccines for student population

Since the start of the school year, 547 students and 291 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Guilford County School District.

“The reality is that we are not done with COVID-19. People are still getting sick and Guilford County schools continue to use best practices to keep our students and staff healthy,” said Dominick Robinson, Director of Student Services.

Robinson says the district has systems in place to manage the impacts of these cases. For example, the county is “individual”, which means that each student has a device that allows them to stay in communication with their teachers and classes when they cannot be at school.

Masks are optional in the school district under state guidelines, but Robinson says if a student has symptoms, they should get tested or stay home for at least five days. If a student tests positive, they must self-isolate for five days and wear a mask during the week they return to school.

Guilford County Health Department Dr. Iulia Vann says the county is currently at a low level of transmission, but there is still work to be done with vaccinations for young people.

“Our kids ages 5 to 11 in Guilford County, we have about 28 percent who are vaccinated,” she says. “And when we look at our 12 to 17 year olds, we are at 52% who are fully vaccinated.”

Vann says the Guilford County Health Department is working with the school district to develop strategies that make it easy for families to get their children vaccinated.

“We use our mobile units to go out and do vaccinations. We have extended the opening hours of our clinics to allow parents to come and have their children vaccinated after work,” she says. “We know that trying to balance work and family life can sometimes be difficult. So we try to make it as simple as possible.

Vann says that with respiratory virus season coming up, she recommends people get a flu shot as well.

More information on COVID-19 guidelines, vaccines and testing can be found at HealthyGuilford.com. COVID-19 data for Guilford County schools is available on their website.

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.