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Parents asked, we got answers: Top back-to-school questions

The first day of school is right around the corner and many parents still have questions about how the year might look for students.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Got a back-to-school question you want answered? Text it to 336-379-5775. 

As the school year fast approaches, many parents are still wrapping their minds around all the changes. From masks to vaccines to virtual learning, schools will look different at the beginning of the year.

District leaders went back to the drawing board to figure out how to move forward in a pandemic.

Some parents have questions about the upcoming 2021-2022 school year.

1. Do teachers have to be vaccinated?

Guilford County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras explains.

"We continue to encourage vaccinations, we are not mandating vaccinations but we are asking our athletes if they are not vaccinated, as well as the coaches, that they will have to take mandatory tests twice a week or once a week if the COVID rates decline," Contreras said.

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, you can sue if your child gets sick from an unvaccinated teacher

2. For districts requiring masks, are there any exemptions for a child not to wear one?

"Masking is the protocol that will help us the most," Contreras said.

A district spokesperson with Guilford County School sent the following statement:

"Students with disabilities or documented medical conditions may apply for a waiver. The determination is made on a case-by-case basis. There are no blanket or automatic exemptions or waivers. Parents may request an exemption through their child’s school. Reasonable accommodations are made on an individual, case-by-case basis after the student’s medical records and documentation have been reviewed and once a student has been determined eligible for services."

RELATED: Here's which Triad school districts are requiring masks

3. Is it too late for my child to make the switch to virtual learning? 

For Guilford County Schools: "If they hadn't enrolled by the deadline, they cannot enroll. Otherwise, we would have to pull teachers and change classes for all other students for the non-virtual schools, and that caused so much distribution last year," Contreras said. "The constant changing of classes - we just cannot do that this year."

For Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools: Parents can still request their student enroll in the virtual academy by calling student assignment. It will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. 

4. What are the steps a school will take if there's an outbreak? 

One viewer from our Facebook page sent in the following question:

"What are the steps you're going to take when infections spread in the schools?"

The state health tool kit has several scenarios online. It depends on several things like vaccination status and symptoms. 

As for Guilford County Schools, the district said the health department quarantines people, not Guilford County Schools.

RELATED: 'A collective approach' | Guilford County Public Health Director on keeping virus out of schools

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