Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools will start bringing back younger students for in-person learning. The local board of education approved a motion late Tuesday night to move forward with a reentry plan.

Board members weighed public comment about a proposal to delay reentry and reviewed recent metrics that show rising COVID-19 cases in the county. In the end, a substitute motion was presented and passed to continue with reopening using a slower approach.

Here's what that means:

  • Pre-K and Exceptional Children students will return to buildings on November 2
  • Kindergarten will return on November 9
  • First grade will return on November 16 

All other students will remain in remote learning pending board approval.

“We owe this to the kids to bring them back especially the children who are really struggling in front of that screen,” says board member Dana Caudill Jones who voted for the measure. “And we've been in multiple school buildings outside of the district to see this being done.”

The district says it will continue to monitor health data and is taking part in a new collaboration with Duke University to help make more informed decisions on reopening. 

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School board will meet on November 17 to discuss a potential return date for grades second through twelfth.

The board also discussed the superintendent search process. Dionne Jenkins, the school system's general counsel, says it could take four to six months depending on if the district hires an external search firm.

The board did not name an interim superintendent on Tuesday. Dr. Angela Hairston resigned earlier this month to lead the school system in Danville, Virginia.

Before the meeting, a press conference was held by The Ministers' Conference of Winston-Salem & Vicinity (MCWSV). The group says it's firmly against any decision to choose a replacement of interim superintendent other than Dr. Kenneth Simington. 

"We would view implementing a plan that excludes Dr. Simington for consideration as regressive to the school system's needs and our community," the group said in a press release.

Simington spent most of his more than 30-year career in the district and served as interim before Hairston was hired and retired from the district in 2019.

Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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