Safe Return To School

COVID Safe Return to School


Sterling’s priority is the health, safety, and well-being of our students, employees, and school communities. To minimize the spread of COVID-19, Sterling will continue to follow all COVID-19 health measures required by the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to determine what precautions are needed to keep our students, staff, and community healthy in a safe and welcoming environment for our summer camps and into the new school year.

Stay Home When Sick

Following our sick protocol in our Parent Handbook, students must stay home if:

  • They have tested positive for COVID-19 and have not met the criteria for returning to school; 
  • They have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and have not met the criteria for returning to school; 
  • They have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher. A fever is determined by a thermometer reading 100.4 or higher.

Students must be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19 to be on campus. At this time, these symptoms include one or more of the following: 

  • fever or chills, 
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, 
  • new cough (persistent dry cough unrelated to allergies), 
  • new loss of taste or smell. 

Anyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 and has not met the criteria for returning to school will not be allowed to be on campus.

  • VACCINATED? You do not have to quarantine if it’s been at least 2 weeks since you received the second dose in a 2-dose series, or it’s been at least 2 weeks since you received a vaccine that only requires a single-dose AND you have not developed any symptoms since your exposure to COVID-19. You must provide dated proof of vaccination to return to school without completing the quarantine requirements.
  • PREVIOUSLY DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19? You do not have to quarantine if you were diagnosed with COVID-19 within the past 3 months AND you have not developed symptoms of COVID-19 without another identified cause for the symptoms. If you develop symptoms within 3 months of having COVID-19, you may need to be tested again if there is no other reason for your symptoms. You must provide dated proof of your previous COVID-19 diagnosis to return to school without completing the quarantine requirements.
Face Coverings

IMG_7880.JPGNCDHHS requires everyone age 5 and older to wear face coverings when indoors at schools. They can be removed when actively eating or drinking. Face coverings are optional for everyone when outdoors.

On days when no students are in the school building, face coverings will be optional indoors for employees and visitors. If a student is present, employees must wear a face covering.

Anyone who is not fully vaccinated is strongly encouraged to wear a face covering and maintain 6 feet of social distance.

Physical/Social Distancing

Schools are taking actions to ensure all campus spaces and buildings support health and safety, including asking students to maintain as much physical distancing as possible. These actions include: signage to remind students of physical-distancing practices and strategic furniture placement in classrooms. 


The CDC recommends everyone wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Teachers will be teaching hand washing in the classroom and reinforcing it during key times. 

Hand washing during key times: Upon arrival to classroom, before and after food, after restroom, after blowing nose or coughing/sneezing, after touching objects used by multiple people and after recess.

If soap and water are not readily available, individuals are encouraged to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol). We will provide hand-sanitizing stations and bottles throughout the school where necessary. If your child has sensitivities to hand sanitizer, please communicate this with your child’s teachers so they can provide your child other opportunities to clean their hands.

Healthy Spaces

Sterling’s buildings and classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day and every evening. Elementary Classroom.JPG

  • Cleaning of objects/materials classroom supplies used by multiple people as needed. Frequently used student items are kept separately and individually labelled (pencil pouches, scissors, etc.)
  • Removal of soft items or those which cannot be sanitized or easily cleaned.
  • Increased cleaning of tables and high touch surfaces by adults: morning, before and after lunch, in between work cycles, and end of the day.
  • Use of EPA-approved disinfectant for SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Current cleaning and disinfectant protocols will continue to be reviewed and enhanced in terms of frequency and intensity. 
COVID-19 Reporting and Contact Tracing

Each individual’s health information is a private matter. No one should publicly declare another employee or student as sick. In the event others need to be notified of a suspected or positive case of COVID-19, local health officials will notify them and provide them further instructions. To protect individual privacy, notifications will not identify anyone by name or contain information that could be used to identify them.

Sterling will report positive cases of COVID-19 to Wake County Public Health authorities and work with them for follow up and contact tracing.

If any person with COVID-19 was on Sterling's campus, while infectious, we will coordinate with local health officials to notify employees and families who were in close contact with the positive person while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with FERPA. NCGS130A-143, and all other state and federal laws.

Close contact is defined as being within six feet of someone with COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period. 

In the event of a case of COVID-19 at Sterling, the affected area will be systematically disinfected. Our disinfectant is EPA-approved for SARS_CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 


Limited visitors will be allowed on campus in an effort to protect the health and safety of our students.

Water Fountains

In response to COVID-19, students will be prohibited from drinking directly from water fountains.

All students are encouraged to bring their own bottled water or reusable water bottles. All water bottles should be clearly labeled with the student's name.  It is the student's responsibility to keep track of their water bottles and take them home for regular cleaning


North Carolinians age 12 and over are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Visit for more information and to find a free vaccination site in your area.