WS/FCS outlines next steps following Gov. Roy Cooper’s reopening schools announcement

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced that all North Carolina schools should follow Plan B, moderate social distancing with schools operating at 50% capacity, when they reopen on Aug. 17. He also stated districts could chose more restrictive remote learning plans if they felt it necessary for their community. In making his announcement, the governor outlined new guidance within the state’s Plan B designed to further protect students, teachers, and staff such as required face coverings for all K-12 students, teachers and staff.

The WS/FCS Board of Education will now move forward with approving either Plan B details or a districtwide remote learning plan for this community. Notice of a meeting to vote on those options for next school year will occur within the next few days. The WS/FCS Board of Education has heard details on possible plan scenarios. Those plans can be found on its website.

Key considerations in developing Plan B recommendations were student and school employee safety, affordability and ability for teachers to connect face-to-face with as many students as possible.

“We know students, families, teachers and staff are awaiting the WS/FCS specifics for next year. Will it be a modified learning Plan B or will we choose to start the year remotely,” said Superintendent Dr. Angela Hairston. “With today’s announcement by the governor, we can now move forward with detailing and finalizing our plans. We will build upon the excellent feedback we received from our surveys to students, parents, teachers and staff and make the best choice for our district.”

In June, WS/FCS fielded a series of surveys which generated more than 19,300 responses from parents and students and 2,400 teacher and staff responses.

“We recognize that there are strong feelings about back to school,” said Hairston. “Our hope is that by taking these steps to gain feedback, and carefully weighing our options, we’ll have a plan that reflects our community’s needs and concerns.”

WS/FCS wants to remind students and families who want an all-virtual learning environment, they still have the option of enrolling in the WS/FCS Virtual Academy. The academy will serve students in grades K-12 and enrollment is continuing throughout the summer. Students and families can learn more about the virtual academy by visiting the virtual academy page on the WS/FCS website, and attending a virtual information session.

Additionally, WS/FCS has established the Our Safe Return page on the WS/FCS website specifically to provide information to the community about return to school plans.

“Our 2020-21 school year will look very different with a unique set of challenges for our students, families, teachers, and staff,” said Hairston. “We are very grateful to our community for its support, engagement and encouragement as we now take the final steps in preparing for next year.”