Gray Stone to operate online for start of school year

Published 1:47 pm Wednesday, July 29, 2020

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Gray Stone Day School in Misenheimer, after careful planning and consideration, will operate remotely when the school year begins Aug. 6.

Classes for both middle and high school students will meet through Zoom Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until around noon while Monday will be an Independent Learning Day, where students will complete assignments through the online platform Canvas.

There will be a block each day from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. where students will have time to work on their own. Teachers will also be available and responsive during the time through email if the students have any questions or concerns.

In addition to students meeting each day with their teacher and fellow classmates, they will also have assignments to complete at their own pace throughout the week, said Jeff Morris, principal at the high school.

Athletics are currently put on hold as the school awaits for more guidance from the state’s High School Athletic Association.

Gray Stone’s detailed reopening plan can be found on its website.

While many other schools and districts are planning on reopening with a mix of in-person and remote instruction, Gray Stone felt full-time remote learning was the best option for its teachers and students.

“We’re fortunate in that we have one school to deal with, not a large school system with lots of different schools,” said Helen Nance, chief administrative officer at the school. “So when addressing our population and knowing that we do a really good job with remote learning, we felt it was the best choice for our students for the consistency to give them a quality education at this time.”

Nance added that the current online model will last until the end of the first quarter, Oct. 14, when the administration will then reevaluate.

The tentative plan is to have an in-person orientation for sixth graders over the first two weeks of school, Nance said, where the students will have time to meet with their teachers and learn about the various remote instructional programs. Transfer students will also be afforded the same opportunities.

Teachers are encouraged to work on campus the first two weeks, Nance said, adding that afterward, they will have more flexibility in terms of working remotely.

Any teacher or staff member operating inside the school will be required to wear a face covering and maintain proper social distance. As they enter the front doors of the main building, they will also have to answer screening questions and have their temperatures taken with touch-free thermometers. The school will be open each day from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Teachers and staff on campus will have access to handheld spray cleaners and will be expected to regularly spray down high touch surfaces such as doorknobs and decks. The school also recently purchased ionized sprayers with CDC-approved cleaners that will allow staff to spray down the entire school.

Nance said a goal once the school year begins is to eventually allow small groups of students to come to campus to work with teachers in labs or STEM classes.

“We firmly believe that this plan, while not ideal, provides for more consistency and access to teachers than any other plan,” the school stated in its reopening plan. “Our hope is that our plan addresses all (or most) of the questions and makes it possible for us to continue to offer the quality of education you expect from us.”



About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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