Guilford County Schools is considering delaying the start of in-person classes for some younger students.
Board members addressed the matter during a contentious hours-long meeting Tuesday night. The discussion focused on a measure that the board approved last month to begin a phased-in approach for in-person instruction.
Superintendent Sharon Contreras said as of now, some younger grades are scheduled to return next week, but she's meeting with county health officials to discuss possible modifications.
“We will discuss how we can slow down the gradual reentry plan that we already have to still try to move forward in some way and then we will contact the board and make an announcement about October 20," she says.
Currently, the county's COVID-19 positivity rate is above the five percent reopening threshold the board agreed on – it's a little over six percent.
But district leaders say it's not the only metric they are taking into consideration.
"The metrics are meant to be guideposts,"says Nora Carr, chief of staff with GCS. “On the CDC guidance, it does not say that if you are in orange or even red, that you can't open. What is does say is that you should have other mitigation factors in place and that's why we have those, which are part of the metrics you [the board] adopted on social distancing, on requiring face coverings and those other measures.”
The district says it's received about 80 percent of parent preference forms for reopening. A majority want some form of in-person classes for their child.
Guilford County Schools began welcoming back some pre-K and kindergarten students back to classrooms on a voluntary basis over the past two weeks.
Ahead of the meeting, several people protested in front of the district's headquarters. The rally, organized by the Guilford County Association of Educators, was called to ask the district to halt reentry for now. Protesters said more needs to be done to keep students and staff members safe, including improving ventilation and addressing infrastructure needs in school buildings.
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