3/21/2021 3:34:00 PM Back-To-School Monday In Lincoln County
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
Week before last, NC Governor Roy Cooper signed into law Senate bill 220, the Reopen Our Schools Act, mandating that with only rare exception, all public schools in North Carolina should return to in-person classes for all grades in no longer than 21 days.
Area school boards decided last week on their plans for complying with that law. In Catawba, Gaston & Cleveland counties, the boards decided to make the change effective April 12th. In all three, students in grades K-12 will have in-person classes four days of the week and have one day that will still be remote learning. In Gaston County, students will be in class Monday-Tuesday & Thursday-Friday with Wednesday a remote learning day. In Catawba County, students will attend Monday thru Thursday with Friday as a remote learning day. In Cleveland County, beginning April 12th, all middle and high school students will return to class for four days; then on April 26th, that district will transition to five days.
In Lincoln County, the Board of Education vote was 5-2 in favor of their change to plan A for all grades; in Cleveland County, it was 6-3.
Lincoln County's grades K-5 had already been going five days since October; the change means all grades including middle and high schools will go to five days weekly of in-person classes starting Monday (March 22nd).
All area school districts, who didn't hold traditional graduation cermonies last year, will have them this year. Lincoln County Schools, who had promised 2020 grads a traditional ceremony in December, say now they'll have a special separate event for last year's graduates this Spring. All of the Lincoln County Schools high schools will have traditional ceremonies in their stadiums. That will also be the case in Catawba County.
Most Gaston County high schools – Ashbrook, Bessemer City, Cherryville, East Gaston, Forestview, Hunter Huss, North Gaston, South Point and Stuart Cramer – will hold two graduation ceremonies Friday May 28th at their football stadiums.
The ceremonies will attempt to maintain 6-feet social distancing, so seniors who currently attend school Monday and Tuesday will have a 5:30 ceremony, and those who currently attend school Thursday and Friday will have a ceremony at 8 PM. Both groups will attend both ceremonies, marching into and out of the stadium together.
Between the two ceremonies, workers will clean the stadiums to get them ready for the second group of family and friends. If rain happens on Friday, the ceremonies will be held on Saturday May 29th at 8 AM and 10 AM. School employees will conduct health screenings as people enter, and masks will be required at all times.
Highland School of Technology will use a different stadium, and seniors at Warlick Academy, Webb Street School and Gaston Virtual Academy will graduate on Wednesday May 26th, and Gaston Early College High School on Thursday May 20th.
Another thing that didn't happen last year was proms. Many schools systems have decided against proms this year including Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Iredell County. Gaston County Schools won't be having school-sponsored proms again this year. Catawba County Schools will. Those proms will be proms outside with 30% of capacity at the venue, mostly the stadiums. All seniors will be invited to attend with one guest. They'll have pre-packaged food and everyone will be required to have masks and maintain social distancing. All four Lincoln County Schools high schools and Lincoln Charter School will be having a prom.
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