The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has released guidance to school districts for reopening school buildings. This information provides safety protocols and requirements which help establish a path towards reopening public schools. Under direction from the NC General Assembly, Craven County Schools is responsible for establishing and submitting a Remote Learning Plan for the upcoming school year.The Roadmap to Re-Open Plan must include 3 options for our students and families:
- Plan A - Minimal Social Distancing: This plan allows for most students to attend school on a school campus. All campuses are operating under enhanced health and social distancing protocols.
- Plan B - Blending Learning: In this plan, schools must reduce the number of people in the building to at least half. This means that some students will be learning from home and some will be on a school campus. All campuses are operating under enhanced health and social distancing protocols.
- Plan C - Remote Learning Only: In this plan, all students are learning from home. There are no students or employees on school campuses.
Based on public health data, state and/or local health officials will determine under which plan we operate. We anticipate that health officials will require us to shift plans throughout the school year, in response to our community’s public health needs.
Timeline of Action Taken By the Board of Education As We Follow the Safest Options For Our Students & Staff
On July 14, 2020, Governor Cooper announced that all public schools should open under the guidance of Plan B with the option for local school boards to offer Plan C (Remote Learning Only). This announcement included updates from the NC Department of Health and Human Services to the current safety protocols and we will now look into those impacts.Craven County Schools created four options under Plan B for learning based on the requirements and recommendations from the CDC on reopening schools.The Board of Education took action at their July 16th Board of Education Meeting and approved Plan B Option #3 and Plan C (CravenLive Virtual Academy) for the upcoming school year.At the September 17th Board of Education Meeting, the Board of Education voted to transition to Plan B effective on October 6, 2020, for our Early College High Schools and October 19, 2020, for our traditional schools.
At the Board of Education Work Session on November 10, 2020, the Board of Education took action to transition all elementary students in grades one through five to four (4) days a week of in-person learning effective Thursday, January 7, 2021. In-person learning will take place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesdays will continue to be dedicated as a remote learning day. The ability to return elementary students to Plan A was authorized by Governor Cooper giving districts the decision about when this will occur. According to Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, “the current science shows that younger children are less likely to become infected, have symptoms, experience severe disease or spread the virus.” Although elementary students are able to return, we do not yet have the flexibility to provide this option for middle or high school students.
Plan A means that elementary students will return to classrooms four days a week with minimal social distancing. Therefore, class sizes will return to pre-COVID-19 numbers of students in each room. A list of all health and safety protocols is attached to this release for the reference of our families and stakeholders.
During the Special Called Meeting conducted on December 29, 2020, the Craven County Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to delay the return to in-person learning for all students until January 19, 2021. All students will begin the second semester with remote learning (Plan C), Early College students on January 5th, 2021 and students following the traditional calendar on January 6th, 2021. Teachers will have the ability to return remotely on the optional workday scheduled on the traditional and Early College calendar, January 4th, 2021 through January 12th, 2021. If teachers need to access materials in their classroom and/or internet during this time they will have the option to work at school. All teachers will be required to report to their school building on January 13, 2021 for professional development dedicated to blended learning. Administrators will be required to attend work in-person during this time to support teachers who are both in-person and remote. Teacher assistants, bus drivers, maintenance staff, custodians, technology staff, school nutrition staff, nurses, and clerical support should report to work in-person during this time but observe all procedures for wearing face coverings at all times, minimizing (time and number of staff) congregating for meals and/or ensuring more than six (6) feet of distance with colleagues at any time, and repeated hand washing.We understand that many of our families and staff have questions regarding the return to school. We hope the information provided helps answer your questions and concerns. As we move forward we will continue to communicate all information through our call notification system, social media, and the local media.Please know Craven County Schools is basing all decisions on health guidance from trusted sources (NCDHSS &CDC )including our local partnership with Craven County Health Department. The health and safety of our students, their families, staff, and the community is the top consideration before any important decision is made.
As a reminder, these plans are subject to change based on updates related to COVID-19 in our community and state. It is critical we do our part to help mitigate the spread of this virus so we remind our families to remember the 3 W's: Wear, Wait, Wash.
- Wear a cloth face covering if you will be with other people.
- Wait 6 feet apart. Avoid close contact.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.
Share with your child that these habits protect our families, friends, and neighbors. They are acts of kindness that when practiced collectively can have a tremendous impact on our community, especially for those at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19