Elizabeth City-Pasquotank school officials, parents looking ahead as North Carolina announces plan for reopening schools

Posted at 9:51 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 22:48:59-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - In North Carolina, a game plan is in place for reopening schools.

This week, Gov. Roy Cooper announced schools will be open for both in-person and remote learning, with key safety precautions in place.

Cooper added districts will also have the option of all remote learning.

“It's a measured, balanced approach that will allow children to attend, but provide important safety protocols,” Cooper said at a briefing Tuesday.

According to Cooper, here are some requirements under the state’s reopening plan:

  • Face coverings for every teacher, staff member and student in grades K-12
  • Limiting total number of people in buildings so six feet of distancing is possible
  • Daily symptom screenings, including temperature checks, before children enter buildings
  • Create a way to isolate students with symptoms so they can get home safely
  • Schedules must allow time for frequent hand washing and regular cleaning
  • Limit non-essential visitors and activities involving outside organizations

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools (ECPPS) officials and parents are planning for the upcoming year.

“I think that it's a really good opportunity,” parent Andy Montero said.

With two daughters within ECPPS, Montero supports the plan.

“I think it was presumptuous to assume that students could go back to school full-time,” Montero said. “I have concerns about the children and that population, but just as much, I would be concerned about the teachers, the faculty and the staff as a whole and them being exposed.”

ECPPS Superintendent Dr. Catherine Edmonds told News 3 their district is moving forward with the plan Cooper announced, while offering an all-remote option for families.

“Our principals are in their buildings, looking at how that will look in each of our schools,” Edmonds said.

Following Cooper's briefing, ECPPS officials said in a statement, "there are factors that will impact the implementation of Plan B such as transportation, building capacity, guidance from state and local health authorities based on COVID-19 trends, and others."

“As the Governor shared in his press conference today, we are appreciative of state and federal resources; however, we know there may be potential gaps in funding for our organization as we learn to maneuver through new norms,” ECPPS Board of Education Chair Dr. Denauvo Robinson said. “Thanks to the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners, ECPPS is well positioned to offer remote learning during this time. Superintendent Edmonds, our administrators, educators, and staff have been phenomenal in rising to meet the challenges during this unprecedented time.”

While the exact landscape for next year is still in the works, the district is holding virtual town halls next week to hear from families and help with planning.

“We don't always know what the challenges are at the home,” Edmonds said. “There could be unique challenges from school to school, because we have some schools that are in the rural part of our school district which may not have the access to broadband as we do with schools that are in the city limits.”

They've also have a survey for families. The deadline to complete the surveys is Monday, June 20.

“Which option do you want for your child? Do you need transportation to school? Will your child need transportation from school,” Edmonds said, describing the questions the survey asks.

Edmonds said flexibility and safety are key.

The same goes for the Monteros, as to whatever may lie ahead.

“It's on us to do our job,” Montero said. “Whether that is being a good student, being a safe student, and being a responsible parent. And as situations arise, we'll make adjustments to be able to maintain standards that we've set for ourselves.”

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