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See the latest news and updates about COVID-19 and its impact on the Charlotte region, the Carolinas and beyond.

Union County schools ends its public reporting of COVID-19 data for schools

masks optional classroom
Union County Public Schools
A class session at Union County's Parkwood Middle School, where masks inside are optional.

Union County Public Schools announced Friday it will no longer post data on COVID-19 cases and quarantines among its students and staff. The decision to pull the plug on its data dashboard comes as students return from the holiday break and COVID-19 cases are rising sharply across North Carolina.

Union County, with about 40,000 students, is the largest North Carolina district that has allowed students and staff to come to school unmasked throughout this school year.

It had been voluntarily posting a weekly data report, as most area districts do. At times those reports have shown more than 7,000 students were forced to sit out of school because of exposure to the virus.

Assistant Superintendent Tahira Stalberte sent a statement Friday saying the district decided to end the reports because of “constant changes” in the state’s quarantine rules. Those rules were revised twice in the past two weeks as state officials tried to keep more staff and students in classrooms.

Stalberte also said county, state and federal websites provide more accurate information.

"Families will continue to receive daily communication when positive, impactful COVID-19 cases are reported at their child’s school," she said.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.