Some Edgecombe County students may be returning to the classroom in October, though a final decision on the issue has not yet been reached.
Superintendent Valerie Bridges discussed the issue Monday night with members of the Edgecombe County Board of Education, though no vote was taken after the discussion. Bridges said that school staff members are paying careful attention to COVID-19 metrics as they look at future plans.
Bridges said she is hoping that students in kindergarten through third grade will be able to begin attending in-person classes by the middle to end of October. The school district has a Reopening Committee that is monitoring the situation and will present a recommendation to the school board at the October board meeting. But the final decision about reopening plans will need to be voted on by school board members.
Susan Hoke, communications coordinator for the school district, said that plans are being made to solicit input from parents and teachers before the recommendation is made.
“We want to get as much input as possible,” Hoke said.
Once classes start for students in the early elementary grades, students likely will alternate in attendance, going to school in person just a couple of days a week at first, Hoke said. The final details of the plan will be announced once a decision is made.
There is no word yet on when students in fourth grade and above will return to class. The Edgecombe County Public Schools Reopening Team is slated to meet on Oct. 23 to evaluate the situation at that time.
In the meantime, Bridges said the school district is focusing on seeing that students who require specialized instruction get more in-person time. Students in this category include Exceptional Children, emerging bilingual students and struggling remote learners.
The school district also is working to ensure all students can access synchronous and asynchronous virtual instruction, Bridges said.
The safety of staff members also is a top priority, she said.
Hoke said Tuesday that several staff members, including teachers, have tested positive for COVID-19, though none of them has been in direct contact with students.