Stanly County Schools unveils reopening schedule

Stanly County Schools has adopted a rotating schedule of in-person and remote learning, also known as Plan B, after Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday for school districts to create hybrid learning schedules for the upcoming school year.

“It has been hectic since yesterday afternoon,” after Cooper’s announcement, interim superintendent Vicki Calvert said. The district had already created “a shell of a plan” for hybrid learning before Cooper’s announcement.

The plan was approved by the Board of Education Tuesday night and the principals shared the plan with their school staff Wednesday morning.

Full-time remote learning (Plan C) will also be an option for students who don’t feel safe returning to school in August. They will be taught the same material as their peers who return to school.

The hybrid plan is flexible and subject to change, especially if students or teachers test positive or if coronavirus cases rapidly spike, either in the county or state, forcing more restrictions or alterations of the current plan.

On the SCS website, there is an “Intent to Return” form that all parents need to fill out for their children. It includes information about what educational environment (remote or in-person) their children would prefer, what the internet connection is like at their home and if their children need transportation to and from school.

Students will have to complete a minimum of one semester of their chosen learning environment before they would be able switch to another one, Calvert said.

The form needs to be filled out by every parent by 5 p.m. July 31. Since transportation is limited, children will not be guaranteed a seat on the bus on the first day of school if a parent doesn’t complete the survey by the appropriate time.

The information from the forms will allow SCS to better plan accordingly for transportation and staff logistics in time for the first day of school on Aug. 17.

Parents should contact their schools if they have any problems submitting the form.

“Time is precious to us,” Calvert said, adding that the school system is “doing all we can to get ready.”

Elementary Schools

Students in kindergarten through fourth grade will attend school five days a week just like in previous years. Fifth-grade students will be relocated to the middle school buildings, which will free up enough space within the elementary schools where social distancing will be possible. Students in fifth grade, along with their teachers, will be relocated to the middle school building and housed in the elective wings.

Lunches will be delivered to students in their classroom and art, music and P.E. teachers will come to each of the classrooms for instruction.

“Our youngest needed face-to-face the most and that is what we emphasized,” said Amy Blake-Lewis, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction.

National data consistently shows that young people, especially children, are less likely to become infected or to transmit the virus than adults. Federal data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that in the United States, 2 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases were among people less than 18 years old.

Middle Schools

Middle school students will attend school on a A/B weekly schedule with in-person instruction for half of the students and remote learning for the other half. The schedule will alternate each week. Canvas will be the learning management system for online instruction.

Students who are learning online will receive the same education from the teacher as the students who are physically in the classroom.

The elective courses (music, art, etc.) will be offered remotely.

School will begin at 7:55 a.m. and end at 1:20 p.m.

Middle school students will share buses with high school students.

High Schools

High School students will attend school on an A/B/C schedule. Students will be divided into three groups with in-person instruction for one group and remote learning for the other two. After a group finishes its week of in-person learning, it will rotate to online learning for two weeks while a new group returns to school. Canvas will be the learning management system for online instruction.

School will begin at 7:55 a.m. and end at 1:20 p.m.

Other logistics

Even during a week of in-person learning, the teacher, whether high school or middle school, will post the same material online for other students at home to complete.

For K-12, breakfast will be distributed to students as they enter the school and lunch will be provided in the classrooms. There will also be community meal sites for students on remote learning weeks.

Though Cooper said all students and staff will be required to wear facial coverings, Calvert said students will only need to do so during transition times (on the bus, walking into school or through hallways) when proper social distancing would likely not be possible. Desks in classrooms will be spaced at least six feet apart so masks would not be needed.

While the school system is still formatting health contingency guidelines, Calvert said substitute teachers will likely be assigned to certain schools to prevent the possible spread of the virus. They are still developing specific plans for what happens if a student or teacher tests positive for the coronavirus.