New Hanover County Schools prepare for elementary school students to return full-time

Updated: Feb. 11, 2021 at 9:47 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Elementary school students in New Hanover County will return to full-time, in-person learning on March 8 following a majority vote by the New Hanover County Board of Education this week.

It’s unlikely that all teachers and staff in New Hanover County schools will be vaccinated for COVID-19 but state leaders believe they will be safe if proper precautions are in place.

“The research and the scientific and health evidence shows that you can safely have students in the classroom as long as the safety and health protocols are followed, even without vaccinations right now,” said Governor Roy Cooper.

Leading up to March 8, administrators say school staffers are taking additional steps to get each elementary school classroom ready for learning.

“If you are closer than six feet apart you should be facing the same direction so that you’re not facing each other,” said New Hanover County Assistant Superintendent Julie Varnam. “Let’s use additional PPE -- whether we use shields, additional two masks -- having desk barriers or those clear dividers where that’s necessary.”

These steps are being taken to make the elementary schools as safe as possible for students, teachers, and staff.

Varnam says the school system still expects some COVID exposures, but the hope is to keep the number of people affected to a minimum.

“While we might be quarantining more, we’re also going to be using other PPE and barriers to support and further mitigate transmission from those exposures.” said Varnam.

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