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Back to school plans announced

Two school systems in the Roanoke-Chowan area have announced additional plans regarding a return to in-person learning.

Earlier this week at school board meetings held respectively in Bertie and Hertford counties, decisions were made to return teachers and students to the classroom.

In a special called meeting on Tuesday, the Bertie County Board of Education voted to return to in-person learning (Plan B) on March 22. The school board made the decision to continue to provide remote learning to students whose parents/guardians do not feel comfortable sending their child/children child back to school at this time.

Bertie is implementing a “blended learning” plan. The returning students will be divided into two groups (Cohort A and Cohort B) and will receive in-person instruction on separate days from 8 am – 1 pm. Cohort A will be in the classroom on Mondays and Tuesdays and receive virtual instruction on Thursdays and Fridays. Cohort B will have virtual instruction on Mondays and Tuesdays and be in the classroom for in-person learning on Thursdays and Fridays.

Wednesday is designated as a remote learning day for all students. Staff will use Wednesday to clean the buildings/classrooms, connect with students who are in need of additional support, and for instructional planning and collaboration.

According to Bertie’s back to school plan, students are to be informed of their cohort assignments next week. Bus routes will be finalized and parents notified by March 15.

Face coverings will be required at all times (except when eating) for all Bertie students and staff.

Temperature checks and a questionnaire will be performed at the entrance of school buildings prior to a student or staff member being allowed to enter. All are required to sanitize their hands.

Food service during in-person learning will consist of meals being distributed from mobile carts and that food will be consumed in the individual classrooms.

Additionally, the Bertie Board of Education approved a return to athletics at both the middle school and high school as follows:

Bertie High School softball (14-game regular season with no more than two games per week) – practice opens March 1 with the first game no earlier than March 15;

Bertie High School baseball and track & field 14-game regular season with no more than two games per week) – practice opens April 12 with first contest on April 26;

Bertie Middle School baseball and softball (season limit of seven games) – first day of practice on March 1; first contest on March 31; and

Bertie Middle School track & field (season limit of five meets) – first day of practice on March 1 with first meet on March 15.

Participation is open to both in-person students and those opting for all remote learning.

Last week, the Hertford County Board of Education approved a plan from Superintendent Dr. William T. Wright Jr. that calls for students to return to in-person learning under Plan B, which requires social distancing and a hybrid attendance schedule for those families that chose to do so in a survey that was presented to the Board of Education on Jan. 21.

The approved recommendation allows families who have selected Plan B in grades Pre-K-5 to begin face-to face instruction on March 8. Hertford County Early College High School will be allowed to begin face-to-face instruction on March 15. CS Brown High School STEM, Hertford County Middle School, and Hertford County High School will begin face-to-face instruction on March 16.

Families who have chosen to have their students remain on Plan C will still have the option to do so.

This week, HCPS officials announced additional plans for a return to the classrooms.

In response to the financial hardship that some families are facing because of the pandemic, the Hertford County Board of Education has elected to suspend the requirement of student uniforms for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year only. Students whose parents have purchased uniforms can still wear them. In fact, the school board encourages them to do so if they already have them. Students who choose the option of not wearing uniforms must comply with Hertford County Public Schools Dress Code Policy 4316 which is undergoing updates this week.

Bus routes are being finalized for those students who have opted to attend school. That information will be forthcoming. Parents will need to provide attestation forms before children board the bus. Also, there will be monitors on each bus to provide temperature screening as an additional measure to ensure safety. Upon arrival at school, an additional temperature screening will also be done.

Each individual school will have detailed information through videos and documents that will outline the expectations for parents and your student to ensure that all are as safe as possible. Please check with your child’s school for this information.

Information is available on Cable Channel 19, the school district’s webpage at www.hertford.k12.nc.us and each individual school’s website.

Northampton County’s Board of Education met on Monday where, in a unanimous vote, they opted to reopen the classrooms for students and staff on March 15. This reopening option will bring students back five days a week from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., shortening the school day by an hour to give staff more time for sanitizing and disinfecting each day after classes are over. This plan will apply to public school students in all grades.

Students and staff at Gates County Public Schools returned to the classroom last month under Plan A (face-to-face instruction) for all elementary schools and Plan B (staggered days for face-to-face and virtual) for the high school and middle school.

Parents there also had the option to allow their school-age children to remain on a total remote learning plan.

 

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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