'Reopening Will Be Complicated': Guilford County School Board Reviews Options

'Reopening Will Be Complicated': Guilford County School Board Reviews Options

8:04am Jul 10, 2020
The Guilford County Board of Education held a virtual meeting on Thursday, July 9 to discuss reopening scenarios, what it will take to do that and a possible timeline. Screenshot: KERI BROWN/WFDD

The Guilford County Board of Education is trying to find the best plan to reopen school buildings in August. It’s a complicated process and comes at a time when COVID-19 cases are rising in the county. As of Thursday, there were more than 3,300 cases reported in the county.

School leaders are focusing on a plan which uses a blended learning approach. Some students would attend classes on campus, while others would learn remotely or both. But all districts will have to be prepared to pivot once Governor Cooper provides more guidance.

Many questions remain: Will they have enough masks for staff and students and will schedules be staggered? There are other details including the possible removal of carpet, fabric chairs, and other equipment to meet certain safety guidelines. And will they have enough staff to monitor and screen kids throughout the day?

In the meantime, school officials are walking through buildings to assess capacity and measure classrooms for social distancing requirements. Superintendent Sharon Contreras says they’re also collecting more parent feedback.

“We had high return rates in some of our wealthiest communities, but very low survey returns in the poorest communities, so they're out knocking on doors through next week,” says Contreras.

Contreras says teacher surveys are being compiled as well. The Guilford County School Board will meet again on Tuesday to continue their discussion on reopening options. The school board is expected to vote on a plan in the next couple of weeks.

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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