WS/FCS reaction to announcement of Senate Bill 220

Published 8:16 pm Sunday, March 14, 2021

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On Wednesday, North Carolina lawmakers and Gov. Roy Cooper announced efforts to pass Senate Bill 220. The legislation modifies the options for in-person learning and is described as “an act to provide access to in-person learning for students in grades kindergarten through 12.” If passed, the legislation would require all elementary schools to return to in-person learning under Plan A within the North Carolina StrongSchools Toolkit. The legislation also would allow middle and high schools the opportunity to return to in-person learning following Plan A guidelines. That option has not been available to date.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Superintendent Tricia McManus said, “Our goal this school year has always been to bring all students back as soon as safely possible. We are definitely supportive of the governor’s announcement today. We will be working with local and state staff to further understand the components included in the bill as it relates to distancing and spacing requirements specifically within our middle and high school classrooms. Any recommendation to update our current plans for in-person learning would be brought before our board of education on March 23.”

State lawmakers noted the bill would become law 21 days after being signed by the governor which could potentially make it effective right before or during the WS/FCS spring break. With spring break occurring April 2-9, any changes related to this legislation approved by the WS/FCS Board of Education would not take effect until after spring break.

As a reminder, the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education recently approved a recommendation by Superintendent Tricia McManus to reduce the number of cohorts at WS/FCS high schools currently using a four-cohort model to two cohorts. That is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 12, but that could change if a new recommendation is considered on March 23.