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RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Randolph County Schools families will notice big changes soon when it comes to COVID protocols in the district.

Superintendent Dr. Stephen Gainey explained Wednesday six changes would be rolled out, some starting immediately.

After Wednesday, parents will finally be allowed into buildings to check kids in or out of class.

Students honored as part of the district’s Star 3 program will be able to once again attend school board meetings to be recognized with a plaque for their achievements.

Four other changes will start at the beginning of semester 2, according to Gainey.

“At this time it just feels like we’ve held these out as long as was good for our kids and our staff,’ he said.

On Jan. 20, students will be able to eat breakfast and lunch in school cafeterias, go on school field trips, attend grade-level assemblies, and approved volunteers will be welcomed back into classrooms across the district.

“If we don’t watch it here we’re going to wind up having years and years and years of not recognizing children for great things, and not building relationships with people, which has been the backbone of our school system and our community has been relationships,” Gainey said.

The district’s COVID dashboard shows 40 positive cases in the district last week, Up from 17 cases the week before Thanksgiving.

Gainey says they wanted to build in time after other holiday gatherings before rolling back rules.

“By then, we will have been past the two-week window of the December holiday break, and obviously past the November holiday break,” he said.

Masks are optional in classrooms as of Nov. 15. They will still be required on buses per federal guidelines.

“Wherever you go on that field trip, whatever the rules for that location are, staff and students will have to adhere to those expectations particularly with cloth face-covering requirements,” Gainey said. “If something needs to be changed, needs to be reviewed and needs to be assessed we will do that.

Students recognized by the board will be able to attend the meeting on Dec. 13. Staff will be recognized beginning next year.