Students in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools system will not head back to buildings at the start of the school year.
The local board of education made the decision during a special called meeting Friday at the recommendation of WS/FCS Superintendent Angela Hairston.
They approved her plan to start off the school year with Plan C, remote learning for all students in grades K-12. This will take place for the first nine weeks of classes.
After the first nine weeks, the local school board will revisit what's known as Plan B, which uses a mix of in-person and remote learning.
Hairston says delaying reentry in school buildings will give the district more time to prepare. There's the refitting of classrooms, buying more personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and other logistics. They're also trying to secure additional funding for staff and other resources to help implement required safety measures.
Hairston says the delay will also give teachers more time to focus on preparing for their online lessons, and to monitor COVID-19 cases in the county.
But not everyone who participated in the virtual meeting agreed with the board's decision. During the public comment period, some parents said more support is needed for working families. They're worried about childcare as they head back to work. Others voiced concerns about the social and emotional needs kids get from their peers at schools and the structure it provides.
District officials say they're in a good position going into the new academic year with devices and textbooks for younger students to support remote learning.
The system distributed more than 20,000 laptops to students after schools were forced to close their doors in the spring.
WS/FCS leaders also say that the start of conditioning and workouts for fall sports are delayed indefinitely.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced recently that fall sports will be pushed back until at least September 1.
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