Durham school board aiming for in-person learning by January, passes amended Plan B recommendation

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Durham Public Schools Board of Education voted 4-3 in favor of the possible return of elementary students to in-person learning as part of the school district’s Plan B recommendation for the remainder of the school year.

In a Thursday meeting, the board amended the plan requiring them to revisit the plan moving forward on Dec. 10 and Jan. 7 to evaluate COVID-19 data.

Schools will only open for in-person instruction if cases remain below 4 percent for two weeks.

Durham Public Schools’ plan allows the possible return of pre-K through fifth-grade students in January through a hybrid model with students in two groups along with the continuation of virtual learning.

According to the plan, Cohort A will attend Mondays and Tuesdays and Cohort B will attend Thursdays and Fridays.

The board says families will have a choice to return to in-person instruction or remain in remote learning as a default.

To ensure families and the community stay informed of any COVID-19 occurrence, a dashboard has been developed where families and staff can find important information. Key dates and timelines will be announced in the coming days, the board says.

DPS says its plan B will abide by this set of rules:

  • Students and staff will be required to wear face coverings while on campus and school buses to ensure safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Signage has been purchased and will be placed on the exterior and interior of schools with directional markers and reminders that everyone should wear their mask, wash their hands, and social distance.
  • Schools have designated classrooms for Exceptional Children’s that will be equipped with PPE and HEPA filtration systems
  • Touchless thermometers will be used to check staff and student’s temperature
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be set up for use in various areas of our schools
  • Training for staff on the proper use of PPE, handwashing, disinfecting, and social distancing will occur before the return of in-person learning.
  • Schools/facilities will be frequently cleaned and disinfected
  • Outdoor air intakes have been increased and schools will be using MERV-13 air filters that capture airborne viruses and bacteria from coughs and sneezes.
  • Daily transportation protocols include pre-route inspections, driver and monitor symptom screening before entering the bus, cleaning, and disinfection of high-touch areas and seating each day along with the stocking of PPE and cleaning supplies. No more than one passenger may be seated per school bus bench seat, with the exception that members of the same household may share a seat.

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