Back-to-school Coverage

WRAL is your back-to-school HQ

Many students will return to classrooms this fall for their first full year of in-person learning since the 2018-2019 academic year. WRAL is your go-to source for back-to-school coverage. Find important dates, information about mask requirements and more right here.

Masks optional in NC public schools

The statewide mask mandate for North Carolina's schools will end July 30, according to Gov. Roy Cooper, but the state Department of Health and Human Services recommends masks remain in place at elementary and middle schools and for any unvaccinated high school students and staff. Children under 12 are not yet eligible for a vaccine.

In place of the mandate, the NCDHHS has issued an updated toolkit for schools to follow to limit the spread of coronavirus as more students return to class statewide in the coming weeks.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says masks aren't necessary for vaccinated students, the American Academy of Pediatrics still recommends them.

COVID-19 vaccines may soon be available for kids under 12

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is already available in the U.S. for kids 12 and older, but younger kids may be able to get vaccinated by the end of 2021. The Food and Drug Administration said clinical trials are underway and children as young as 5 could be vaccinated against coronavirus sometime this winter. Find a vaccine near you with this tool.