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K-5 Students Start School on Plan A - Board Reiterates Continuous Monitoring

During an emergency School Board session held Thursday, Oct. 16 - at the close of the first 9-week grading period - Superintendent Dr. Donald Phipps presented a report indicating that the school district had a total of 69 students and 12 staff members who tested positive for COVID-19 from the start of school on Aug. 17 through Oct. 14, less than 1 percent of each population.

Even though the county metrics are showing a growing number of cases, an average of 29 new cases per day, the rate of increase within the school system is substantially less than the worsening indicators in the county. Between Sept. 14 and Oct. 14, there were 59 new COVID-19 cases in Caldwell County among children ages 6-18, whereas the school district reported 37. For adults over the age of 18, there were 429 new cases and 8 within the school system. Dr. Phipps attributed this to the diligent efforts of faculty, staff, and students following statewide procedures and protocols and the cooperative and supportive relationship with local health officials.

Board Chairman Darrell Pennell said that the school district will continue to evaluate current data and the effects on school populations to ensure that schools are operating within a safe and healthy learning environment.

Starting on Monday, Oct. 19, students in grades K-5 will start on Plan A, which is the state's reopening plan to allow more students in the classroom by minimizing social distancing. All other state health requirements are in place, such as frequent hand washing, face coverings, and temperature checks. Elementary schools will also continue designating Wednesdays as a remote day for students through October. This day is also used for staff development and teacher office hours. In November, students in grades K-5 will attend school five days a week through the end of the second nine-week grading period, which ends on Dec. 18. Students in grades 6-12 will continue on Plan B - AA/BB schedule. All students in grades K-12 have the option to participate in Caldwell Connect - the full remote learning platform.