Yadkin County Schools announced Thursday that elementary students could return to more regular in-person class schedule as early as Oct. 5. The announcement came following N.C. Governor Roy Cooper’s announcement that after several weeks of stable COVID-19 trends and continued low virus spread in school settings, schools could choose to implement Plan A for elementary schools (grades K-5). Plan A continues to include important safety measures like face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening, but does not require schools to reduce the number of children in the classroom, states a press release from the Governor.
The statement on the Yadkin County Schools Facebook page said that students will no longer have to be grouped into cohorts and can attend school each day. During the next two weeks school leaders will be working on plans to move to Plan A.
Yadkin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin said he had met with school and district leaders to discuss if a Plan A could be safely implemented.
“I do feel like we can bring more students back safely,” Martin said. “We will still have the safety measures in place, including face coverings and maintaining social distancing as much as possible. Thus far, the measures we have taken seem to be working extremely well and so I do think we can have more elementary students on campuses safely.”
Every school district will continue to have flexibility to select Plan A, B or C based on their unique needs. In addition, districts should still provide an option for families to select all remote learning for their students, states a press release from Cooper’s office.
“We are able to open this option because most North Carolinians have doubled down on our safety and prevention measures and stabilized our numbers,” said Cooper. “North Carolinians are doing the hard work to improve our numbers and trends. Many people are wearing masks, keeping social distance and being careful to protect others as well as themselves. We have shown that listening to the science works. And I’m proud of our resolve.”
Dr. Mandy Cohen, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services shared an update on North Carolina’s data trends. Dr. Cohen explained that North Carolina has seen a sustained leveling or decrease of key metrics.
“Our trends show that we are on the right track. It’s up to all of us to protect our progress. Our individual actions like those 3 Ws will help keep our school doors open.,” said Secretary Cohen.
Dr. Cohen also explained that as schools have opened, the current science shows that younger children are less likely to become infected, have symptoms, experience severe disease or spread the virus.
“It’s great news today that we are a step closer to providing the option of in-person learning to families who want their children to return to school,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson. “While the Governor, the State Board of Education, and I have our differences, I join with them today to encourage local school board members to take advantage of this change and open all schools safely. I thank the many parents and teachers across North Carolina who have been vocal advocates on this important issue.”
“For the past six months, superintendents, principals, teachers and local BOE have worked diligently to care for the safety of our students and staff while educating our children. While we are anxious to return all students, we know that teachers, principals, and students need a gradual transition over the next three months. I ask our parents to remain patient, knowing that we are moving as quickly as is safely possible. And I ask our teachers to continue to assist our students by supporting this deliberate, thoughtful transition,” said Eric Davis, Chairman of the State Board of Education.