BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Bladen County Schools have released the first look at their plans for reopening classrooms in the fall.
“As students return to school on August 17, our district will be offering two options for students in Kindergarten through 4th grades. These families will have the choice of a hybrid school model or a virtual school model,” the district stated in a news release.
School officials say the following plans are guidelines and subject to change depending on the status and severity of COVID-19 in the area, and with state and public health requirements.
Hybrid students will attend school on an “A” day schedule (Mondays and Wednesdays) or a “B” day schedule (Tuesdays and Thursdays). The district will pre-assign students to either an “A” day or a “B” day. Families that choose the virtual school model for their child will attend school 100% virtually. Both hybrid and virtual K-4 students will participate in virtual learning on Fridays.
For students in the 5th through 12th grades, Bladen County Schools will offer 100% virtual learning. These students will attend school virtually on Mondays through Fridays. Any student that opts to participate in virtual learning and does not have adequate at-home internet access will be provided take-home student work packets from their school similar to what was offered in the spring.
In all grade levels, accommodations will be made for exceptional children and the special needs population. The district did not have specific details about those accommodations, but the Exceptional Children department is working with each school individually to identify the best plan for instructional delivery and learning.
The district said there are many factors that limit its ability to host all students fully on campus. Some of these factors include:
- Public health requirements of 36 sq ft. of space between all students. Based on our building sizes, this limits the in-person student population to approximately 12 students per classroom
- Staffing limitations as vulnerable staff members continue to work from home
- Transportation limitations (social distancing will limit our school buses to 24 students)
- The recommendation to cohort groups of students to limit the impact of students and staff affected by a potential COVID 19 outbreak
“We are pleased to be able to offer parent choice based on these two models. We are confident that we can provide high-quality instruction to virtual learners alongside their in-person peers via technology and district support. Our district also has prioritized creating options that allow students with illness to work from home, and this model allows flexibility for online learning if there is an outbreak that requires campus closures,” the district stated.
To help with the transition, the school board has implemented a no uniform policy for the 2020-2021 school year. However, the district dress code policy will remain in effect.
“All plans will be made with your child’s safety and academic progress as our unwavering top commitments. Our mission remains: To ensure that all students have the knowledge and skills necessary to be resourceful and successful,” school officials stated.