NCSS 2020 Re-entry Plan for Students

NCSS Releases 2020 Re-Entry Plan for Students to Return to In-Person Instruction
Posted on 08/24/2020
NCSS 2020 Re-Entry Plan

Superintendent Explains Re-Entry Plan

Newton County School System is preparing for the eventual return of students for in-person, face-to-face instruction. As such, Newton County School Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey and staff have developed a School System Re-Entry Plan that delineates the timetable students could return to school.

The current start date for students is Tuesday, September 8. All self-contained special education students will report to in-person instruction at their school buildings that day; all other students in grades PreK-12 will begin virtual instruction.

“It is important to provide face-to-face instruction for our self-contained students starting on day one,” said Fuhrey. “As a result, they will be the first students to return to the buildings for in-person instruction. From there, we will implement our re-entry plan and, if the situation allows, begin a staggered, gradual return of students to in-person learning. The re-entry will be for those who originally opted for the in-person learning model; those who opted for the secondary self-paced virtual model will continue that learning format through the first semester. In addition, those parents who feel it is in their child’s best interest to remain in virtual learning may do so—we are not going to require them to return to in-person if they do not feel comfortable sending their child to school at this time.”

Fuhrey and district staff will review data regarding COVID-19 every Friday, using the fourteen-day case rate, rate of positivity, the 7-day moving average, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits related to COVID-19, to make a determination of if and when it is safe to return groups of students to school.

“Once we review the data, if the numbers allow, we will begin the phase-in of students,” Fuhrey explained. “We will notify parents via email beginning September 11 if the numbers are trending in the right direction and parents of students in the first phase, which includes, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 8th grade, and 12th grade, will be asked to notify us if they want their student to return to in-person instruction. They must complete the questionnaire by 5:00 p.m. that Monday in order for their student to be included in the first wave of students reporting back on September 21. If the numbers continue to improve, we will follow the same process every Friday, inviting increased numbers of students to return.”

Grade levels of each phase of re-entry are as follows:

Phase 1:     Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 8th Grade, and 12th Grade
Phase 2:     2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 6th Grade and 9th Grade
Phase 3:     4th Grade, 5th Grade, 7th Grade, 11th Grade
Phase 4:     10th Grade

If the data allow, students could be back in school by October 13; however, should numbers indicate an increased rate of transmission of COVID-19 in the community, the school system may delay one or more phases of re-entry. Those students already back for in-person instruction would continue to report to school; others would remain in virtual learning until conditions improve. In that event, the district would update the dates for re-entry and continue to review data on Fridays.

“Our model allows for week-to-week consideration of community transmission of COVID-19,” said Fuhrey. “Because the turnaround time for our Friday announcements to Monday deadline to respond to the survey is so short, it is imperative that parents have current email addresses in their student’s Infinite Campus profile. As such, we have opened up the Parent Portal so parents may update their contact information on their child’s profile. We implore parents to create a Parent Portal account and verify their email and phone numbers are correct as soon as possible.”

Parents may create an account by following the link:

“Ultimately, our goal is to have all students return to in-person instruction and stay in face-to-face instruction,” said Fuhrey. “We know that is the best learning environment for children of all ages. In order to do this, we have verified with our medical partners that the wearing of masks is of utmost importance. As such, members of the board of education, in partnership with school system administration determined that students and staff will be mandated to wear masks while in our schools and on our school buses unless there is a documented, clinical concern preventing them from doing so. Students who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted to ride the school bus or attend classes in person; instead, they will remain in the virtual environment.”