Planning for return in the 2020-21 school year

LENOIR, NC (June 24, 2020) — The school district is formulating plans on how and when to open its buildings for the 2020-21 school year based on the State Board of Education and N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s guidance in adherence to recommendations and requirements from N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

“Even though we are being provided potential scenarios to open schools, we are finding ourselves overwhelmed by the academic infrastructure that would be required under these restrictions, such as social distancing guidelines; protective equipment, staff for smaller classrooms, and additional transportation to keep students spread out on bus rides,” Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps said. “However, we are moving forward and developing operational strategies to reopen schools with the likelihood of distance learning being a component.”

Three reopening plans have been presented to school districts across the state in preparation for students to return to school safely:

Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing

Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing

Plan C: Remote Learning Only

In Plan A, all students will start school at the same time with enhanced health protocols. Plan B limits student density in facilities to no greater than 50 percent occupancy and schools will be required to adhere to all health protocols to include social distancing with at least 6 feet between people at all times in school facilities and on school transportation vehicles.

Gov. Roy Cooper, in consultation with NCDHHS, DPI, and the State Board, is expected to announce which of the three plans will be used for students in North Carolina beginning August 17. School districts must adhere to the plan selected but may add further restrictions as needed.

The school district is seeking input from parents, faculty, and staff regarding instructional platforms that are most effective and adaptable to families within the parameters that have been set by state officials. Surveys will be available within the week and accessible on the school district’s website at Links to the survey will also be sent to parents via email and text messages.