NC school districts making plans for fall without specifics from state

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Roy Cooper said he wants to reopen schools next month, but declined to offer a plan. He said that would come later this month. That puts many school districts in a tough spot, making plans without specific guidance.

Cooper called re-opening schools his top priority at Wednesday’s press conference.

About three weeks ago, the state released a 26-page toolkit, including recommendations for social distancing and cleaning.

As part of that, districts were asked to come up with three plans, a return to full-time classes, a hybrid of virtual and in-person instruction, and finally, continuing online learning.

“The uncertainty, I would think,” Wake County School Board Chairman Keith Sutton said.

Sutton said it appears the second plan is the most likely, and it’s the most challenging.

“From an operational standpoint, transportation. We know that we can get students in the building and be socially distant but in terms of social distance on the school bus,” Sutton said.

The current guidance from the state is to have one student per seat on the school bus. That means each bus will be at less than 50 percent capacity. That also means more drivers will be needed.

“That’s why we’re looking at the on a day, off a day, sort of a day, so that we don’t have the same number of kids coming at the same time,” Sutton explained.

“This is definitely an all hands on deck situation when school returns,” Franklin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Schuhler said.

They’re still determining how it will work.

The state will require all staff and students in middle school and high school to wear masks. They’re strongly encouraged for elementary school students.

State officials also stockpiling a two month supply of personal protective equipment at each school.

“We’ve got to find a plan that strikes a balance between meeting that desire to be face to face again with safety, the safety measures that need to be in place to make that happen,” Dr. Schuhler said.

The Wake County School Board is expected to meet Thursday to discuss its options. Sutton said he expects they will make a decision on which plan to move forward with.

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