Gov. Cooper announces that schools will reopen under Plan B

During a press conference on Tuesday June, 14 Gov. Roy Cooper announced plans for reopening public schools in the fall.

Gov. Cooper announces that schools will reopen under Plan B
July 15
13:55 2020

School districts will have the option to continue remote learning

Public schools will reopen this fall with several restrictions, but students across the state will have the option to continue remote learning. During a press conference on Tuesday, July 14, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that K-12 public schools across the state will open under Plan B, which calls for schools to limit the capacity in school facilities and on transportation vehicles and includes a mask requirement.

“After working with health experts, school superintendents, teachers and more, we plan to put those protections in place and open our schools in a careful way,” Cooper continued. “Today we announced that North Carolina schools will open for both in person and remote learning with key safety precautions to protect the health of our students, teachers, staff and families.”

Cooper describes Plan B as a “measured balanced approach” that will allow students the opportunity for face-to-face learning while still providing safety protocols such as fewer children in classrooms, social distancing, face coverings, symptom screening, frequent hand washing, and cleaning. According to Cooper, individual districts will have the power to make adjustments to the plan to ensure they are meeting the requirements brought forth by the state.

“Schools will be required to limit the total number of people in the building so that six feet of distancing is possible. For example, when students are seated or in a line,” Cooper said. “Districts and schools can use a plan that works for them, whether it’s alternating days or weeks or some other strategy.”

Under proposal made by Dr. Angela Hairston, superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, students grades K-6 will attend school daily (Monday-Friday). All EC (Exceptional Children), Self-Contained Students, OSC (Occupational Course of Study) students, and students who attend special needs schools will attend school Monday-Friday as well. Students who attend school daily will be split between elementary and middle schools throughout the district. Hairston said the original plan was to have face-to-face learning for students grades K-8, but the district doesn’t have enough facilities to make that happen.

Grades 7-9 would be split into two cohorts, Cohort A and B, and assigned to a high school campus in the district. Cohort A will learn the old-fashioned way, in a classroom, on Monday and Tuesday, and Cohort B will have in-person lessons on Thursday and Friday. Wednesday is scheduled as a remote learning day for all students.

Although students will only physically be in the classroom twice a week, they will still be expected to “attend” school five days a week. On days they aren’t in the classroom, students will be expected to participate in remote learning. 

When discussing the proposed plan during a special called board meeting last week, Hairston said although the proposed plan isn’t perfect, it’s what the district can afford with more funding from the state. In order to meet every guideline outlined in Plan B, Hairston said Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools would need about $45 million in additional funding.

“It would take between $40 and $45 million to execute all aspects of the plan. We realize we don’t have those types of dollars, so we really had to look at our resources and bring to you a plan that we can execute without those additional resources,” Hairston said. “We realize this is not a perfect plan, but it is a plan that is affordable to us.”

Now the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School’s Board of Education will have the decision to either approve Plan B or district wide remote learning. Notice of a meeting to vote on those options will occur within the next few days.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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