Wake County school board eyes students returning to classrooms, looks ahead to next semester

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Wake County school board is looking ahead to next week when students return to classrooms for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. It is also looking toward next semester.

Schools will look different once students return next week. From buses to classrooms, things will have a different look and feel. Masks will be mandatory. Students who come without one will be given one.

“If they refuse to wear a mask or refuse to follow the safety protocols, they will not be allowed to attend school in person until the student and family agree to abide by the expectations or have their face covering accommodation request approved,” said Superintendent Cathy Moore.

Students who don’t pass health screenings will be taken to a care center separate from the health room until someone can pick them up.

Classrooms where students once shared tables will now have individual desks spaced out as far as practical.

“Grades 4-12 will require social distancing of six feet,” Moore said. “Grades K-3 will have six feet of social distancing in the rotations and as much social distancing as practical, with the goal of six feet once we return to daily instruction.”

The district also ordered more efficient air filters.

Despite efforts to keep everyone safe, schools may see cases of COVID-19.

“When students are attending school in person, the school will notify parents and employees via email and text when the school is notified someone confirmed to have COVID-19 was in the school,” Moore said.

The district will then work with health officials.

Wake County is also planning for the next semester. The board is operating under the assumption that pre-K through fifth grades will attend school every day and that sixth through 12th grades will have three-week rotations. The could change depending on a number of factors.

The board also voted to authorize two years of severance pay for the superintendent if she should get fired without cause. They say it is the same deal as the previous superintendent. Moore makes nearly $300,000 a year.

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