01/28/2023
Spread the love

Contributed

Assuming continued positive public health trends in the county, Bladen County Schools  students will be returning to classrooms in October, the Bladen County Board of Education decided Thursday.

At its October 1, 2020, special called meeting of the Bladen County Board of Education, board members rejected the superintendent’s proposal to open elementary schools under Plan A and to re-open middle schools under Plan B. Both plans would go into effect beginning on October 19. Instead, a motion was made to amend the superintendent’s proposal to also include bringing back high school students under Plan B. Families of all students will have the option to send their child to school for face-to-face learning or to have their child participate in full semester 100% remote learning.

Our high school administrators will follow up with families with more scheduling details.

The Board also approved for middle and high school athletes and coaches to return to voluntary conditioning workouts beginning October 12.

Under Plan A, all Prek-4th grade students, including exceptional children, can return to school full time four days a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Schools will be closed for in-person instruction on Wednesdays to allow for deep cleaning and disinfecting; teachers and students will be on remote teaching and learning on this day.

Elementary school students (Prek-4th) and staff will be required to follow the state guidelines of the governor’s Plan A, which includes:

  • minimal social distancing in classrooms; 6-feet of social distancing in all other school areas (hallways, restrooms, cafeteria, media, office, etc.);

  • continued daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols;

  • face coverings are required while riding a bus and inside the school;

  • daily temperature and screening checks prior to entering the building for students, staff, and visitors; and,

  • no required social distancing or passenger limits on the school bus; buses with Prek-5 students can have two passengers per seat; buses that have 6-12 students mixed in with Prek-5 students are only allowed one passenger per seat, with siblings being able to sit together on the same seat; schools only are encouraged, not required to limit the number of passengers as in Plan B.

All students in 5th through 12th grades, including exceptional children, will have the option to return to school under Plan B – AA/BB day or remain in full semester 100% remote learning.  The AA/BB day under Plan B which begins

October 19 will have students return to school for two consecutive days – Mondays and Tuesdays or Thursdays and Fridays  – of face-to-face instruction per week; the remaining three days will be for remote learning. Wednesdays will be reserved for deep cleaning and disinfecting; teachers and students will be on remote teaching and learning on this day.

Middle and high school students (5th-12th) and staff will be required to follow the state guidelines of the governor’s Plan B, which includes:

  • maintain 6 feet of social distancing in all areas of the school, including classrooms;

  • reduce the capacity of students in the school to adhere to social distancing;

  • continued daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols;

  • face coverings are required while riding a bus and inside the school;

  • daily temperature and screening checks prior to entering the building for students, staff, and visitors;

  • limit the amount of out-of-classroom activities (other than recess) by students and teachers, keeping cohort groups together; and,

  • limit school bus ridership to one passenger per seat.

Under a proposal submitted by BCSs athletic directors and approved by the Board, high school athletes and coaches will begin Phase 2 of the NCHSAA guidelines for conditioning and workouts. The conditioning and workouts are voluntary, and not mandatory.

The NCHSAA has approved through the end of 2020 cross-country, volleyball, swimming and diving, and basketball to begin their seasons. Starting in January 2021 and through the end of June, men’s soccer, lacrosse, football, men’s and women’s golf, men’s tennis, women’s soccer, softball, baseball, women’s tennis, track and field, and wrestling will begin their season according to the NCHSAA calendar approved on September 15. The full schedule of athletics can be read here.

During the first week of October, high school coaches will begin contacting students, conducting tryouts, deep cleaning and disinfecting equipment, and preparing workout schedules. The first day for student conditioning and workouts will be October 12.

For the remainder of the 2020/2021 school year, the Waccamaw Middle School Conference will limit its middle school football games within the home county of conference teams; Bladen schools will play Bladen schools and Columbus and Whiteville schools will play Columbus and Whiteville schools. Other middle school athletics will be played within the Waccamaw Middle School Conference. Conditioning and tryouts can begin as early as December 7 for basketball and cheerleading however, the first games will not begin until January 2021.

BCS’s plan to reopen schools and keep them open depends on whether public health indicators regarding community spread are trending in the right direction. It’s important to remember that at any time, schools may need to transition between plans (from Plan A to either Plan B or C, or from Plan B to Plan C) depending on state and/or local health indicators, staff capacity, and physical and fiscal considerations and limitations.

No one measure supersedes another, and the overall trend lines are more important than specific data points, according to public health officials. The metrics considered include the number of new cases daily per 10,000 persons in Bladen County, the number of new cases within the last 14 days per 10,000 persons in Bladen County, the daily positivity rate in Bladen County as compared to the total number of tests taken and compliance with public health measures in schools by students and staff. The secondary indicators include a downward, 14-day trend in hospitalization rates for COVID-19 in Bladen County and the community’s intensive care unit.

REOPENING GUIDANCE: From NC Public Schools has put together an interactive ‘Living Document’ that details the current guidance on reopening public schools in our state.

View more details about the meeting on our YouTube Channel: