Students in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools (WS/FCS) will be returning to classrooms later this month. During a meeting on Thursday, Oct. 1, the Board of Education approved a phased reopening plan where students will transition to in-person learning based on grade level.
Last month Governor Roy Cooper announced that beginning Oct. 5, public school districts can choose to allow students grades K-5 to return to in-person learning with safe measures in place, such as face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, social distancing, and symptom screening. On Sept. 17, Dr. Angela Hairston, WS/FCS superintendent, proposed the phased re-entry plan to the special COVID-19 Committee. The proposed re-entry plan is a hybrid of in-person and remote learning.
Although Gov. Cooper recommended opening elementary schools under Plan A, the least restrictive of the three plans for reopening schools, Dr. Hairston said she felt the hybrid model was the best way for students, teachers and faculty to return safely.
“It’s a slow transition,” said Hairston. “It gives teachers time to adjust, it gives us time for staff to adjust.”
The first contingent of students to return to the classroom will be those attending Career & Technical Education classes who require hands-on learning. Those students and teachers will return to the classroom on Oct. 5. Elementary schools will then begin their phased return with Pre-K starting Oct. 26, followed by grades K-3 on Nov. 2. Exceptional Children and students in EC Separate-Setting/Assigned, EC-OCS or ESL programs will also return Nov. 2. Grades 4-5 will return on Nov. 16. These students will attend school four days a week with Wednesdays being used for remote learning to enable schools to undergo deep cleaning.
Middle school students will be divided into cohorts and attend school in person either two days every week or two days every other week depending on school enrollment. Middle schools with larger enrollments will have cohorts on alternating weeks. The alternating schedule will enable schools to significantly reduce the number of students on campus and maintain social distancing. Students in grade 6 will return on Nov. 2, and grades 7-8 will return Nov. 16.
High school students will return as soon as Jan. 11 for in-person testing. In-person classes will start on Jan. 25. Those students will be divided into cohorts following a schedule similar to middle school.
For more information or to view the district’s plan to reopen schools, click on the “Our Safe Return” tab on the WS/FCS website.
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