Dear New Hanover County Schools Students and Families,
Almost immediately as we ended the 2019-2020 school year, we collectively turned our attention to preparing for the 2020-2021 school year. Many questions await our consideration along the path to reopening, questions we will navigate with the same careful consideration used since COVID-19 restrictions were put into place in March. Changing conditions will require us to be flexible and prepared to adjust plans in support of each and every student.
Guiding our process are two documents, the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit, issued by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, and Lighting Our Way Forward: North Carolina’s Guidebook for Reopening Public Schools from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Every school district across the state has been charged with creating three plans for reopening, adhering to the requirements and considering the recommendations of these documents.
Plan A — School facilities are open and all students are present at the same time. Enhanced health protocols are required and those recommended by DHHS are to be considered. Teaching and learning is traditional with preparation in place for blended learning.
Plan B — School facilities are open but limited to no greater than 50% maximum occupancy. Enhanced protocols that are required and recommended in Plan A continue, with increased requirements including social distancing at all times, including transportation.
Plan C — No students in school facilities. Remote learning for all students.
In July, state and local officials will determine the plan that will be in place when schools reopen in August based on health data and COVID-19 trends locally and across the state. As we await this decision, NHCS is developing work plans in instruction and learning, operations, health, communications, and finance. We are also assessing virtual school options and enhanced health and safety measures, drawing on the continued guidance from the NC Department of Health and Human Services, the New Hanover County Health Department, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Throughout our school district and our community, we will continue to minimize the spread of COVID-19 by practicing the 3Ws: Wear a mask, Wait 6 feet apart and avoid close contact, and Wash Your hands often or use hand sanitizer. As we plan for the coming school year, we will work together to protect our families, our children, our staff, and those most vulnerable.
Del Burns, Ed.D.