WS/FCS considering delaying phased restart

WS/FCS considering delaying phased restart
October 22
09:00 2020

Today the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education will decide whether to delay the phased re-entry plans for students or go forward with the plan that would put some students in classrooms as early as next week. The motion to delay the restart came just days after Superintendent Dr. Angela Hairston, who recommended the restart plan, announced her resignation.  

Here’s what we know: On Oct. 1 the board adopted reopening standards that followed positivity rates gathered by the Forsyth County Department of Public Health over a 10-day period, but during a meeting last week Dr. Hairston announced that the district would be making changes to the standards. The new standards align reopening with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicators for Safer School Opening. 

Those indicators include the number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the last 14 days, otherwise known as the “Incidence Rate,” and the percentage of lab tests that are positive during the last 14 days, or the “Percent Positive.”
The CDC Core Indicators also require schools to follow five key strategies for opening safely. Those include: consistent and correct use of masks, social distancing to the largest extent possible, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and disinfection, and contact tracing in collaboration with the local health department. “The Health Department has recommended that we adhere to the CDC Core Indicators for Safer Schools,” said Hairston during the meeting on Oct. 13. 

During that same meeting, several board members raised concerns about sending students back to school while the number of positive test continues to rise. Board member Elisabeth Motsinger said the district wasn’t meeting the initial standards approved by the board and the community should know that. Board members Barbara Burke and Andrea Bramer also raised concerns about the change and all three members voted against the motion to approve the change, but it still passed. 

“I just think it’s important to say that we are not meeting that metric,” said Motsinger. “I just think that the record should reflect that we are not meeting the metric we set forth.” 

The day after the meeting, Dr. Hairston’s resignation was made public.

Following a presentation on reopening schools earlier this week, the board decided to hold a special meeting on Thursday, Oct. 22, to decide on what to do next. If the board decides to move forward with the phased re-entry plan, Pre-K students will return to classrooms next Monday, Oct. 26, and grades K-5 will return on Nov. 2. 

The special called meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. inside the auditorium of the Education Building, 4801 Bethania Station Road. The auditorium will be open to a limited audience, but the public can watch the meeting on WS/FCS Cable 2 Network or the Cable 2 Youtube Channel. 

For more information on the phased restart plan, visit and click on the “Our Safe Return” tab.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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