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Lenoir County Schools prepare for reopening

Lenoir County Public Schools are planning to blend in-person and online learning this fall.
Published: Jul. 15, 2020 at 9:27 AM EDT
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LENOIR COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Governor Cooper laid out guidelines Tuesday for the much anticipated question, “how will kids go back to school this fall?”

The governor announced the state will move forward under Plan B, which is a mix of in-person and remote learning. Each district is able to determine how that will work based on what they see is best fit.

“For us, it looks like Plan B, the blended approach, was the best approach for parents and students in Lenoir County, so that’s what we’re going to go with. In addition, we’re going to offer a full-time, remote learning option for students and parents who feel that’s the best approach for them,” explained Patrick Holmes, Lenoir County Public Schools spokesman.

Holmes says they are still working on a specific plan to limit the number of students inside the school building.

“We’re going to figure out the best way in conjunction with members of our community that we’re consulting on our plan on how to limit that capacity in terms of restricting attendance and having different days or weeks for children to be in school,” said Holmes.

For the students who will be in the classroom, he says extra precautions will be in place. Under the governor’s order, all staff and kids must wear a mask and there must be daily health screenings. Holmes says Lenoir County schools are already prepared for that.

“We have a very large supply of handheld thermometers. We’re getting walk through temperature devices. We’re going to make sure we have a good fix on the health of people coming into our schools. Then, we have procedures if they don’t pass the screening for not allowing them to come into the school and following up on their health condition,” Holmes explained.

While parents and kids have the option for in-person or remote learning, Holmes says they are working with district staff to fit their needs, as well, especially for those who are high-risk.

“We’ve done a survey of teachers and one of the things that struck me about the survey was teachers felt in large very comfortable about coming back to school. There are some that perhaps have underlying health conditions or don’t feel comfortable. We’re going to work with them. Obviously, we’re going to need some teachers to do online instruction, so that might pair up with the teachers needs,” Holmes explained.

Holmes says they are also working to make sure students with special needs who may benefit greatly from in-person learning are able to be in the classroom.

“The remote learning doesn’t always work with them and we’re going to do our best to get them in school and get the services they need,” said Holmes.

For those who will be learning remotely, Holmes says they are working to make the program as beneficial as possible. He says each child K-12 has an iPad and is familiar with the apps that teachers have been using this past spring for remote learning.

“We learned a lot this spring and we’ve really spent the time since then improving our program. We have a stronger summer school than we had in the spring, so we’ll take that into the fall,” Holmes said.

Lenoir County Public Schools is working with a planning team, sorting through data from parents and teacher surveys and will preview the reopening plan to a community group before taking it to the school board for approval next week.

The state also released guidelines on how to handle any student or staff member who may show symptoms of COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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