Following Governor Roy Cooper’s announcement last week that students in elementary schools can transition to Plan A beginning October 5, the Jackson County Board of Education voted tonight to send elementary students to school four days a week beginning Monday, October 5.
Dr. Tony Tipton, Interim Superintendent of Jackson County Schools, proposed students attend in full capacity on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Wednesday being remote for all students. Virtual students who wish to remain virtual will be permitted to do so. The board approved Dr. Tipton’s proposal unanimously.
Students in Preschool through Grade 5 will begin attending in-person instruction beginning October 5. In addition, students who are currently virtual and had planned to begin in-person instruction later this month will be required to begin in-person instruction on October 5 as well.
For consistency, Jackson County also voted for students in 6-8th grade who are currently virtual but intended to return to school after the first semester, to begin in-person instruction beginning October 5 as well. They will be on the A/B schedule the rest of 6-8th graders follow.
Because October 5 was originally scheduled as a teacher workday, the board moved the teacher workday to Wednesday, to allow students to begin the new 4 days-a-week schedule on Monday.
The state recommends that social distancing continues to be implemented in school whenever possible, however, recognizes that may not be as feasible with more students attending in-person instruction each day.
Dr. Tipton said that principals are working with teachers to establish pods or small groups within the classroom, limiting exposure and person-to-person contact to the small groups rather than the entire class.
Face coverings will still be required for all schools and other safety precautions will continue to be in place. While social distancing requirements for school buses remain in effect – one student per seat – Dr. Tipton said he believes the current routes and buses will be able to accommodate the transition.