Pender County Schools votes against Plan A for K-5 students

The board voted to start with a revised Plan B for elementary students—option 3
Updated: Oct. 13, 2020 at 7:40 PM EDT
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BURGAW, N.C. (WECT) - Following recommendations from the Health Department, Pender County Schools Board of Education voted against transitioning K-5 students to Plan A at a meeting Tuesday evening.

The board voted to start with a revised Plan B for elementary students—option 3. This will still include Cohort A and Cohort B, but will mean a 13% daily increase in students attending in-person instruction (just over 200 students). The start date for the revised plan will be November 2.

A health department representative said the risk of transmission is very low in Pender County Schools; however, given the recent rise in cases, it would be better for the school board to wait until next semester to implement Plan A for students K-5.

Board members also decided to consolidate the three high school cohorts (A, B and C) into two cohorts, A and B. Cohort A will start in-person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesday being a remote day while Cohort B does remote learning and the groups would alternate weekly. This change will begin November 2.

Superintendent Dr. Steven Hill says they’re confident students, staff and families will remain safe.

“I wouldn’t say we’re doing an extended Plan B, more like an intro. into Plan A. The reason we felt safe is based on the communication we continuously have with the health department and the facts of how it affects elementary students. We felt like this was a comfortable compromise to make steps forward with families and communities, but also do it safely,” said Hill.

A survey has shown 70% of teachers aren’t comfortable with going back to schools for full-time, in-person school under Plan A.

Board members will reevaluate at their next meeting on November 10th.

Virtual learning will remain unchanged for those who chose this option and Wednesdays will still be remote for all students.

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