Bladen County Schools to start school year with remote-only learning

Bladen County Schools to start school year with remote-only learning
Bladen County Schools will open the upcoming school year with remote-only learning starting Aug. 17, the school system has announced.

BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Bladen County Schools will open the upcoming school year with remote-only learning starting Aug. 17, the school system has announced.

The BCS Board of Education approved the plan presented by Superintendent Robert Taylor during a special meeting Thursday.

“This decision to move from an A/B schedule in PreK-4 grades and remote-only in grades 5-12  to now implementing remote-only learning in all grade levels was made based on the guidance the district has received from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the North Carolina Governor’s Office, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS),” the school system stated in a news release. “Moreover, issues surrounding safety, funding, transportation, staffing, and logistics created unprecedented challenges.”

BCS officials say that remote-only learning will be carried out across all grade levels, and that the district “will expect students to participate in virtual classes based on the guidelines set by each teacher.”

Also:

  • Remote learning will occur asynchronously and be conducted Mondays through Fridays.
  • Teachers will maintain virtual classroom office hours between 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., allowing students and parents to communicate with them as needed during those times.
  • Teachers will be remotely teaching from their classrooms and other appropriate locations.
  • Student attendance will be monitored.
  • Students will receive a report card at the end of the quarter. 

Bladen County Schools also released the following timeline based on current conditions and state guidelines:

  • Aug. 10 - Teachers and staff report to work
  • Aug. 17 - First day of remote learning for PreK-12 grade students
  • Sept. 14 - Contingent upon state and local conditions and further guidance from the state, the following instructional plan is that blended learning for PreK-4 grade students will come back to the school campus or remote learning continues based on parent request. All other grade levels will remain on remote learning. The schedule would be as follows:
  • A group - Mondays and Tuesdays
  • Both groups remote learning - Wednesdays
  • B group - Thursdays and Fridays
  • Oct. 5 - Same as above with the addition of 5-8 grade students coming back to the school campus or remote learning based on parent request
  • Oct. 23 - Same as above with the addition of 9-12 grade students coming back to the school campus or remote learning based on parent request

BCS also stated that it will provide laptops for those in K-12 grades who do not have reliable access to a computer at home.

“The annual $20 laptop user fee normally required to be paid by parents is being waived for this school year,” the school system said. “Parents will still be required to sign a laptop user contract and will be responsible for damages incurred during the school year. Laptops will be deployed at both the middle and high schools the week before school starts; elementary schools will deploy on the first two days of school.  Parents must be present to pick-up a laptop for their child. Schools will contact parents with specific details regarding deployment and pick-up.”

The following schedule will be followed for dates and times of laptop deployment:

  • Monday, Aug. 10 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at East Bladen, West Bladen, and Bladen Early College high schools (freshmen only - students in grades 10-12 have their laptop as they kept them over the summer)
  • Tuesday, Aug. 11 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at East Bladen and West Bladen high schools (freshmen only -  students in grades 10-12 have their laptop as they kept them over the summer)
  • Wednesday, Aug.t 12 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at all middle schools
  • Thursday, Aug. 13 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at all middle schools
  • Monday, Aug. 17 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m at all elementary schools
  • Tuesday, Aug. 18 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at all elementary schools

“The district is also exploring options for securing additional Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the county for students so that they have the tools needed to learn remotely. Recently, the district received four hotspot devices thanks to donations from AT&T, Google, and Duke Energy Foundation,” the district said. “The BCS Technology department will be working to identify areas within the county where students are experiencing a connectivity gap and install those devices.

“Currently, there are external Wi-Fi hotspots at Bladen Lakes Primary, Bladenboro Middle, Clarkton School of Discovery, East Arcadia Elementary, East Bladen High School, Tar Heel Middle, and West Bladen High School.”

The BCS Child Nutrition and Transportation departments will provide meals to children daily similar to their summer feeding program.

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