Return to Headlines

Updated Social Distancing Procedures

Information on social distancing in school settings has been recently updated by the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). Upon receiving information from the NCDHHS, we consulted with the Johnston County Public Health Department on the impact these updates will have on our school system. This ongoing collaboration continues to guide our decision-making as students return to classrooms for in-person instruction. 

The following information has been updated: 

Less than 6 feet of social distancing may still be protective for children 

  • The CDC still recommends 6 feet of social distancing as the most health-protective distancing. 
  • However, in low- and medium-risk settings, 3 feet of social distancing may lead to a similar risk for the spread of COVID-19, especially when people wear cloth face coverings. Because of decreased risk of spread among children, schools may be considered low or medium risk. 

It is recommended that schools: 

  • Arrange furniture, such as desks or seating in classrooms, break rooms, and reception areas, so that students, teachers, staff and visitors are separated from each other by at least 6 feet when feasible. If it is not possible to arrange seating 6 feet apart, consider having all students, teachers, staff and visitors sit facing the same direction (i.e., all sitting on the same side of a table), or using barriers between people. 
  • Keep students and teachers in small cohort groups that stay together as much as possible during the day, and from day to day. Limit mixing between cohort groups as much as possible (e.g., during recess, lunch in the cafeteria, arrival and dismissal, etc.). This is especially important for elementary schools that choose to operate under Plan A. 
  • If social distancing is not possible in the cafeteria, have meals delivered to the classroom or have students bring food from the cafeteria back to their classrooms to eat. 

The district also encourages staff to familiarize the information referenced in the StrongSchoolNC What Are We Learning About Children and COVID-19 document. 

Johnston County Public Schools has consulted with the health department on all of the above information. They confirm that the use of cloth face coverings combined with 3 feet of social distancing, provides similar protection to 6 feet of social distancing in a low/medium risk school setting, operating under Plan A. Schools operating under Plan B will continue to utilize 6 feet of social distancing when feasible as outlined by the NCDHHS. 

For additional information, please refer to the Strong Schools NC Public Toolkit.