All Caldwell County Schools To Reopen on Plan A

LENOIR, NC (March 19, 2021) — The Board of Education met to discuss Governor Cooper’s latest announcement to reopen schools in support of new legislation SB 220, and Board members voted to return all students in grades K-12 to school on a modified Plan A schedule, which is four days a week with Wednesdays reserved as a Remote Learning Day effective April 12, 2021.

Isaac Whitner, Hibriten High School student

“There’s not been a decision made this school year by Board members and administration that hasn’t been painstakingly thought through,” said Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps. “We have collaborated with medical officials daily and consistently sought input from parents and community leaders when making decisions, and we know that everyone will not be in agreement; however, it is our responsibility to do what is best for all students and their social/emotional and academic needs.”

Presently, middle and high schools are operating under the state’s Plan B, a hybrid educational model of in-person instruction two days a week (AA/BB schedule) and remote learning. However, under Plan B, students are required to 6-ft social distance when stationary or congregating, which precludes all students from attending in-person on a daily basis.

“With the recent legislation to reopen schools and new guidance from the Governor’s office, this stipulation for middle and high school students to social distance has been relaxed, which opens the door for all students to return to face-to-face instruction,” Phipps said.

To assist in transitioning middle and high schools from Plan B to Plan A, the Board of Education designated March 31 and April 1 as workdays for middle and high school faculty and staff. During that time, schools will rework master schedules and return furniture, such as student desks, to classrooms. Middle and high school students on the AA schedule will attend school on Monday, March 29 and BB students on Tuesday, March 30 of the week before Spring Break.

For elementary schools, Wednesday, March 31 will continue to be a Remote Learning Day and April 1, 2021, is also a workday for all faculty and staff to allow equitable preparation throughout the school district. The Pre-K program will continue its regular schedule without any interruption.

Students currently enrolled in the virtual learning format Caldwell Connect will continue on this plan for the remainder of the school year. Wednesdays will be a Remote Learning Day for all grade levels to allow teacher planning, thorough cleaning of facilities, and the distribution of free meals to children 18 years and younger at Hibriten, South Caldwell and West Caldwell from 11-1 pm and 3:30-5:30 pm. Nearly 2 million meals have been distributed since school closure last March.

“Students’ education and welfare are critical, and we need to get our students back in school as quickly and safely as we can,” said Darrell Pennell, School Board Chairman.