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Elementary Schools Begin Plan A on Oct. 19

At a special session held today, the Board of Education approved the state’s Plan A reopening format for elementary schools (grades K-5) starting on Monday, Oct. 19, the first day of the 2nd 9-week grading period. Even though all students in grades K-5 may return to school at the same time, schools will require health screenings, face coverings, frequent hand washing, and social distancing as often as feasibly possible. Students may continue to opt for full remote learning through Caldwell Connect.

“Local health officials have given us the green light to move forward,” School Board Chairman Darrell Pennell said. “We will continue to monitor the data closely and make adjustments as necessary.”

Elementary students will attend school four days a week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from Oct. 19 through Oct. 30, and beginning in November, they will go five days a week, Monday-Friday.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Sept. 17 that children in kindergarten through fifth grade may return to in-person learning under the state’s least restrictive reopening Plan A as early as October 5. School districts now have the option to implement Plan A in elementary schools; however, middle and high schools will continue to operate on Plan B or C (full remote) until further notice from state officials.

Caldwell County School reopened in August utilizing Plan B, a blended educational program of a two-day, in-person setting (alternating groups A and B) with three days of remote instruction and a full remote option for students. On Wednesdays, schools schedule a thorough cleaning of the building, hold office hours for teachers and offer staff development. When elementary schools return to a full week of classroom instruction, adjustments will be made to their cleaning schedule and classrooms will be sanitized after school hours.

“Health and safety factors will continue to be our primary concern as we maximize space in our facilities and reassign students as needed,” Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps said.

The NC Department of Health and Human Services presented three plans this summer for reopening of schools - Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing; Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing; and Plan C: Remote Learning only. Per Gov. Cooper’s directive in July, schools could only reopen on a hybrid system (Plan B) of in-person and full remote learning or could choose a more restrictive option of online-only classes (Plan C) but could not be more lenient and return to full-time, in-person classes (Plan A). 

“As we transition to Plan A, we will mitigate and manage the risks,” Phipps said. “There are benefits as well as concerns during this implementation, but we are ready to get our students back in school.”