The Catawba County School Board also approved going to Plan A later this month, but unlike Lincoln County, those who choose not to return to all in-school classes will have the option of choosing remote learning--and no doctor's note will be required. The Catawba County School Board voted Monday to phase in Plan A (in-person learning) for younger students as follows:
- 2nd and 3rd grades will begin in-person learning Monday - Thursday on October 20th.
- 4th and 5th grades will begin Monday - Thursday on November 30th. The extra time will be needed, the schools said, to implement a plan to reduce the larger class sizes to improve social distancing between students.
- Fridays will continue to be remote learning days for all K-12 students, and students in grades 6-12 will continue under Plan B for the time being.
- 100% remote learning will continue for families who are not comfortable with in-person learning. Principals are contacting parents this week about an opportunity to switch to/from 100% remote learning if there is space available and if there is available staffing to accommodate the requests.
Governor Cooper approved the change to Plan A--at the discretion of local school boards--week before last.
Lincoln Charter School, which had started the year with all remote learning, will switch to Plan A, which calls for in-school classes five days per week, for grades K-5 effective October 19th. The Lincoln Charter Schoool Board made that decision last Monday night (September 21st). They also decided to move to Plan B (a mixture of in-person and remote learning) for grades 7-8 starting October 19th and for grades 9-12 starting October 26th.
The Lincoln County Board of Education met last Thursday morning (September 24th) and decided to switch from Plan B to Plan A for grades K-5 beginning Tuesday October 13th. That week, elementary students will go to school four days. Beginning Monday October 19th, elementary students and staff will transition to a full Plan ‘A’, five days per week of face-to-face instruction. Students and families currently on Plan ‘C’ (all remote learning) will be required to have a medically approved recommendation to continue with remote learning beyond October 19th.
That decision to require a medical exemption to continue (or begin) remote learning instead of five days per week in-school has drawn fire from many parents, as has the decision to have that special called meeting at 9 AM Thursday morning, when most parents were working. The decision came on a 4-2 vote. Board member Tony Jenkins wasn't present, but Heather Rhyne, Cathy Davis, Todd Wulfhorst (via zoom) and Mark Mullen all voted in favor of the change. Kirk Herbertson and Joan Avery voted 'no.'
We were frankly disappointed that the subject wasn't brought up as one of the questions in the East Lincoln Betterment Association's interviews with School Board candidates Tuesday evening. That video is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3bU-Xa0hEc&feature=youtu.be.
The Gaston County School Board voted early last week not to go to Plan A at this time. Supt. Jeff Booker told the board that more time would be needed to prepare for that change. Booker said the change would require adding another dozen or more desks to every classroom for classes up to fifth grade and that it would make socially distancing essentially impossible. He also urged the board to talk further with teachers and parents before making any decision.
Gaston County's number of active COVID-19 cases declined again Wednesday. It's now 1,190, but another death brought that figure to 87. Cleveland County's active case count also declined slightly, to 199, but the county also reported seven more deaths since Monday bringing that total to 69. Catawba County, which had been having new case numbers in the teens saw 33 more added on Thursday. Another death brought that figure to 55. Lincoln County will make its next report on the virus on Friday afternoon.
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