July 13, 2020

Alexander County Schools seeks input from parents

Alexander County Schools is seeking parent input in planning for students to return to learn for the 2020-2021 school year.

“We want input from our families so that we can partner on our back-to-school plan. We have provided a link to a parent survey on our website and social media sites,” stated Associate Superintendent Dr. Betsy Curry. Parents are asked to complete one survey per household, online at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc25cWreZD4QG03CNzae9_ECsGAJtLo9ryvcgyEM06kMR9VLQ/viewform.

The State Board of Education approved operational guidance earlier this month for how schools can reopen for the 2020-2021 school year. The guidance includes A, B, and C options that range from minimal to moderate social distancing to only offering online instruction.

Option A is the least restrictive with minimal social distancing at 100% student capacity and would only be an option if COVID-19 health metrics are improved. Students would participate in face-to-face learning.

Option B is a moderate plan with up to half of all students in schools at the same time. Schools would open with moderate social distancing and be required to operate with no more than 50% of students in attendance at one time. This plan would be implemented if COVID-19 metrics worsen, and it is determined that additional restrictions are necessary. Students would participate in a hybrid model of learning.

Option C is the most restrictive with in-person classes suspended and students participating in remote instruction only. This plan would be implemented if COVID-19 metrics worsen.

One parent survey question asks if option A is implemented will the parent allow the student to return to school. Other questions ask about staggering attendance options and intent to use bus transportation.

School system administration anticipates an announcement from Governor Cooper July 1 and is preparing for all options.

2 Comments

  1. Nicole Schaal on June 24, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Kids need to go back to school 100 percent and practicing cleanliness and 6 feet. Kida need school.

  2. Eric Pratt on June 25, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Measure out a classroom and then measure out a 6×6 section for students. That is 36 square feet per student. For a class of 20 which is small, you need a class size of 720 square feet. That doesn’t include space for the teacher in the front of the classroom which would require 6 feet of space between them and a desk if they don’t move off the wall. We have to consider instructional equipment, and any other special needs that may be required for particular students. Full classrooms maintaining 6 feet of distancing just isn’t feasible. Students changing classrooms walking down those halls can’t maintain 6 feet of distance. Kids go to school and haven’t taken showers/don’t use deodorant. Kids don’t shower after PE class. Hygiene is already a concern before the virus. I don’t expect that issue has been fixed. You can’t run day and evening school splitting the students because you won’t have the teaching staff to support it and the classrooms that are in place can’t be magically made larger. You also have to consider how they do lunches. I guess they could cart food to each classroom like they did when I was in elementary school, but cafeterias won’t sustain all those students having any kind of distancing. Considering liability risk that the county/state will be dealing with, I don’t see a good answer. They will have to make a decision and it won’t please everyone. I’m sure there is more going into the decisions than most of us are considering. The best advice I would give anyone is to have your kids read at home no matter what kind of books it is. The kids that read, tend to do better in school. I don’t work in this county anymore, but my kids attend school here so I do have a vested interest. I’m just looking at the situation from working in the classrooms. My opinion isn’t any less or more valid than anyone else. Keep in mind that there are always restrictions in anything that we try to do in life. If anyone has ideas for how to make this work, I’m sure the schools would love to hear it on the surveys.

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