New Hanover County Schools Seeks Input On Reopening Schools In 2020

New Hanover County Schools Seeks Input On Reopening Schools In 2020

New Hanover County Schools Seeks Input On Reopening Schools In 2020 Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 08 July 2020 01:59

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

NEW HANOVER CTY - New Hanover County Schools are asking parents and the community to fill out a survey to help them develop three plans for reopening in the fall.

Questions focus on where your children attend school, their grade level, and, "Would you need to participate in training to support your student in online instruction?"

Other questions include:

- If limited face-to-face instruction is an option, for example, alternating weeks with face-to-face one week and remote instruction the next week, would you send your student to school to participate in face-to-face instruction during the 20-21 school year?

- If there is face-to-face instruction, would you commit to transporting your child to and from school?

- Knowing that bus occupancy is limited to 24 due to social distancing requirements, will you be using school bus transportation during the 2020-2021 school year?

- Would you like your student to participate exclusively in remote learning during the 20-21 school year through a virtual academy?

- How comfortable are you with students and staff returning to the school building if daily temperature checks are required for staff and students, cloth face coverings are required for staff and students in middle and high school, and no visitors are allowed in the building?

- How comfortable are you with students and staff returning to the school building equipped with washing/sanitizing stations in every classroom and daily school cleaning?

- How comfortable are you with students and staff returning to the school building if all the safety measures listed above were implemented?

- The following safety measures will be in place for the 20-21 school year: cloth face coverings, plans for protecting vulnerable populations, frequent hand washing and use of hand sanitizers, increased symptom screening and monitoring, social distancing, and access to mental health and wellness resources. What additional safety measures would you like to see implemented in preparation for face-to-face instruction?

The intro to the survey explains, "New Hanover County Schools is developing three school reopening plans to meet the requirements and recommendations provided by state officials in the North Carolina's Guidebook for Reopening Public Schools and the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit (K-12). As you plan for the 2020-21 school year, you may at times feel confused and overwhelmed by family discussions and decisions related to remote instruction, health and safety, meal service, transportation, and more. What questions do you have about the upcoming school year? Please share your questions through this community input form. NHCS will work to answer your questions and create resources to help you navigate school opening and the 2020-21 school year."

According to the New Hanover County School System, "The Governor will make the determination between Plans A, B or C. This will not be a decision of NHCS, we will follow the guidance and orders that come from the Governor's office."

You can learn more by visiting the School System's website online at https://www.nhcs.net

On June 11th, the State Board of Education approved the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s Lighting Our Way Forward: North Carolina's Guidebook for Reopening Public Schools and a summary with navigation links to the full document. The operational strategies were developed by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, in conjunction with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, teachers, support staff, local education leaders, and others, to assist the state’s public schools and communities as they develop reopening plans for the 2020-21 school year.

The guidance covers a wide range of issues and concerns that schools statewide face with reopening, from school nutrition and transportation to instructional approaches, student social-emotional learning and employee coping and resilience.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson emphasized that the explained, "This is a living document,"Johnson said. "It’s not set in stone. Our goal is to provide a road map that supports reopening schools to make this enormous task less difficult for our districts, schools and communities."

He explained, "We are excited to move forward in the expectation that we will start the upcoming school year with students back in school buildings," and, "COVID-19 will present unique challenges as we welcome back students, staff and families."

The DPI guidance will help local districts comply with the health-related recommendations and requirements from NCDHHS announced Monday by Gov. Roy Cooper Under the NCDHHS recommendations and requirements, one of three reopening plans will be put in place:

• Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing
• Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing
• Plan C: Remote Learning Only

The Governor, in consultation with the DHHS, DPI and the State Board, will decide by July 1 which plan districts and schools are to begin the school year, though they can also opt to use a more restrictive plan.
The DPI guidance document covers key considerations for each of the three plans, including school facilities and students, health precautions, teaching and learning approaches and scheduling options.
Plan B for moderate social distancing – requiring that only 50% of students be physically present at any given time – involves numerous possible options for both scheduling and learning approaches.

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