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Reopening Schools with New Health and Safety Procedures

Nearly 700 teachers returned to school this week and participated in training sessions not only for effective classroom instruction but also for providing a safe and healthy learning environment.

School administrators scheduled mandatory meetings with faculty and staff on safety procedures and guidelines that ranged from disinfecting and sanitizing classrooms to wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, and conducting health screenings. All schools and district offices are adhering to current safety and health guidelines defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the NC Department of Public Instruction and local health officials.

“In a collaborative effort of local, state, and federal agencies, we developed strategies early to identify and acquire COVID-19 resources,” said Dr. Jeff Church, Associate Superintendent of Auxiliary Services. “We were fortunate enough to get mostl of these high-demand items prior to students returning.”

Safety equipment and resources are available to school personnel to prevent, protect, and mitigate health risks. The following resources have been placed in schools and in educational facilities to safely reopen schools:

  • Thermal Imaging Systems (11): Placed in the largest attendance schools and will be used to detect temperatures without being physically close to the person evaluated, while expediting the health screening process.
  • No touch thermometers (245): Available at all sites to measure temperatures instantly without contact.
  • No touch thermometers – wall units (100): Available at all sites to measure temperatures instantly without contact.
  • Social Distancing floor decals (6,000): Placed on floors 6 feet of spacing to remind students to stay 6 feet apart in lines and placed in all lobbies, reception areas, bathrooms, and other gathering areas.
  • Hygiene - handwashing - signage (2,000): Placed in schools and buildings to teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Hand Sanitizer Dispensers (240): Placed in schools to support healthy hygiene behaviors.
  • Hand Sanitizer with Floor Stands (72): Placed in schools to support healthy hygiene behaviors.
  • Hand Sanitizer bottles for each classroom (Approximately 5,000): Placed in classrooms to support healthy hygiene behaviors.
  • Backpack Disinfectant Sprayer (38 and 30 on backorder): Disbursed to schools for sanitizing school buses and classrooms/facilities.
  • Disinfectant Pump Sprayer (30): Disbursed to schools for sanitizing classrooms and facilities.
  • Handheld Disinfectant Misters (8 and 30 on backorder): Available for usage at schools and educational facilities upon request.
  • Microfiber cloths and terry cloth cleaning towels (3,000): Placed in classrooms for cleaning technology equipment.
  • Spray Bottles (2,000): Disbursed to schools for cleaning products used to disinfect school buses and classrooms/facilities.
  • Plexiglas dividers for administrative offices (100): Placed in schools to minimize transmission.
  • Cleaning Product (600 half-gallon units): Q.T.3 – Hard surface disinfectant: broad spectrum of bacterial, viral and fungal (COVID-19)
  • Cleaning Product (300 gallons): Food-safe Surface Cleaner (COVID-19)
  • Cloth Face Coverings: Provided by federal and state emergency funding for students and staff.

North Carolina also appropriated each school district face masks, shields, gowns, and other PPE for school nurses and select support personnel. Most COVID-19 resources have been procured using funds provided through the emergency CARES Act.

The first day of school for students is Monday, Aug. 17. More than 25% of students are enrolled in the full remote option Caldwell Connect. Approximately 8,400 students will be in the classroom, either in group A or B, two days a week with face to face instruction and three days of remote assignments.