Guilford County Schools Leaders Consider Postponing In-Person Classes

Guilford County Schools Leaders Consider Postponing In-Person Classes

4:42pm Jul 15, 2020
A cafeteria area at Sternberger Elementary School in Greensboro has been transformed into a model classroom for social distancing. In the back, rolls of carpet are being temporarily stored. It's one of several COVID-19 safety measures school districts will need to implement when they reopen school buildings. KERI BROWN/WFDD

Guilford County Schools officials may delay reentry into buildings, despite Governor Cooper’s recommendation. GCS Superintendent Sharon Contreras suggested to the school board on Tuesday that remote learning be used for the first five weeks of class for all students.

It’s one of three possibilities the district is considering for the governor's Plan B approach announced this week. It’s a mix of online and in-person instruction, which requires moderate social distancing.

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Guilford County Schools officials explain the classroom changes. KERI BROWN/WFDD

Superintendent Contreras says this would not only give the district more time to prepare and refit classrooms,  but to monitor COVID-19 cases in the area and evaluate the next steps.

 

The school system is currently collecting teacher and parent surveys. Chief Academic Officer Whitney Oakley says this will also be a factor in how the district will reopen.

“We are going to have to be flexible and innovative,” she says. “Our goal is to serve as many kids that we can for the greatest amount of time that we have while keeping kids and staff safe.”

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This classroom could hold around 16 kids. KERI BROWN/WFDD

In the meantime, principals can get an idea of what social distancing in classrooms will look like by walking through the two models that have been set up at Sternberger Elementary School.

“We’ve brought a few in at the same time, they were socially distanced, but they were able to have conversations about what it would look like in their school,” says Angie Henry, chief financial officer with the school system. “I think they were excited to see something and start working [on] what needs to happen in their buildings.”

The Guilford County Board of Education will meet again to discuss reopening plans on July 28.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you’re experiencing.

Follow WFDD’s Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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