Dare County Schools release update on back to school plan

Back to School

Pre-kindergarten students listen as their teacher reads a story at Dawes Elementary in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Chicago Public Schools students began their return to the classroom Monday as school doors opened to thousands of pre-kindergarten and some special education students after going remote last March due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool)

DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — The Dare County Schools (DCS) Board of Education released its back-to-school plan after a unanimous vote to reopen schools in March.

Schools are expected to open Monday, March 1, under the following board-approved program:

  • PreK-5 — Four Days a Week Hybrid
    • Students attend face to face (F2F) Monday through Thursday each week. 
    • Friday is an asynchronous learning day for all.
  • Grade 6 through Grade 12Two Days a Week Hybrid
    • Cohort A (half the alphabet) attends Monday/Tuesday and is remote Wednesday/Thursday.
    • Cohort B (the second half of the alphabet) attends Wednesday/Thursday and is remote Monday/Tuesday.
    • Friday is an asynchronous learning day for all.
  • Virtual Learning — Remains an option for all students K-12 for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. 

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The Board also approved the following School Contact Level Protocols to mitigate COVID-19 spread. These requirements will be in place for staff in all buildings.

Contact Level 3 (CL3) — Low Contact: DCS Staff

  • No F2F meetings: PLCs and Staff Meetings are held virtually. No congregation of adults in buildings/outside. Parent Conferences are F2F with social distancing, but virtual will be encouraged. 
  • Specialists: (ESL, AIG, Interventionists) Meet with students virtually, even if in the same building. Students remain in their home base classroom with a device and headphones to receive services. 
  • EC services: Follow IEPs and/or contingency plans, and conduct services virtually as appropriate.
  • Staff Pods: Assigned, designated staff members provide coverage for individual classrooms. Staff will be assigned spaces within the building for planning/eating. 
  • PreK-5 Departmentalized and specials/related arts classes: Taught virtually.
    • Departmentalized: Teachers deliver instruction virtually or homebase teachers deliver all subjects. 
    • Specials/Related Arts: Teachers deliver instruction virtually, except PE classes can go outside (weather permitting).
  • Lunch: If students eat in the cafeteria, the adults that provide supervision must remain distanced by at least 10 feet.  

Contact Level 3 (CL3) – Low Contact: DCS Students

  • Plan B: Secondary (6-12) students move from class to class.  
    • Lunch: Students eat lunch socially distanced in the cafeteria or in the classroom as determined by the principal. If students eat in the cafeteria, the adults that provide supervision must remain distanced by at least 10 feet. 
  • Plan A: Elementary (PreK-5) students remain in their home base classroom. 
    • Lunch: Students eat lunch socially distanced in the cafeteria or in the classroom as determined by the principal. If students eat in the cafeteria, the adults that provide supervision must remain distanced by at least 10 feet. 
  • Recess: Masks are not required to be worn at recess unless 6 feet of social distancing can not be maintained. Recess times will be staggered throughout the day. 

Guiding Documents:

NC Public Schools are required to follow the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12).

Dare County Schools has also produced the Returning to School and Work Safely Guidebook for families and staff.

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Daily Health Attestation and Temperature Checks:

Required daily health screening text/email process restarts Monday morning beginning at 6 a.m. There are three required questions to respond to on a daily basis by 7:15 a.m. (before students are on campus). To fill out a preference request, log in to your PowerSchool Parent Portal. Thermal temperature units take the temperature of all students and staff members when they enter school. 

Daily Student Reminders:

Everyone above the age of 5 is expected to wear a cloth face covering on all DCS buses and in school facilities (unless there is an exemption). Outside mask breaks will be provided at different points in the day and while students eat breakfast and lunch. 

The school is asking that parents remind thier children to wash hands and use hand sanitizer during the day. Teachers will remind students frequently.

Social distancing is required and will be emphasized throughout the day. Students will be reminded to stay on the right and left sides of school hallways, 6 feet apart.

New CDC Guidance Regarding Quarantine for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

NC DHHS will follow the CDC’s new guidance regarding quarantining for fully vaccinated individuals. Vaccinated persons with exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine for 90 days if they meet certain criteria. 

The school says more than 80% of staff members have received their second Pfizer vaccination.

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Technology Devices:

Elementary students who checked out a device for remote learning will need to bring it back to school with them when they return to school on Monday. Devices will be available to go back home in the case of quarantine or to do online remote work as needed (grades 3-5).

Nutrition Program:

All meals are free for the remainder of the year to all students (F2F and virtual). Students attending F2F may eat breakfast and lunch at school.

Curbside meals will be available for free for virtual and remote student families on Mon/Wed/Fri. Curbside locations are CHSS, MMS, and FFHS from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Friday free meal distribution will be available to all students at various locations throughout the county from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

School Calendars Approved

The board also approved DCS calendars for the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 academic years. To view those, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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