North Carolina health officials urge schools to reopen

The Moore County School district Monday recommended the school board approve a transition from Plan B to Plan A for students in grades K through 5 at the school board’s regular meeting held at Union Pines High School.  With the change, associated students would get in-person instruction up to five days per week.

Following a lengthy discussion, the board voted, 6-1, to move to Plan A in January. School board member Betty Wells Brown opposed the vote.

The Moore County Health Department recommended delaying full in-person learning until at least January at the last week’s school board meeting.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced in mid-September that public schools could implement Plan A for elementary schools, grades K-5, beginning October 5. Under Plan A, schools could return to full classrooms while requiring face coverings for all students, teachers and staff, practice social distancing and screen for symptoms.

There were two dozen people at Union Pines High School before the meeting with signs in favor of Plan A. Six people spoke in front of the board during the public comment period in favor of the immediate reopening of our schools while one person spoke to remain in Plan B.

Moore County Schools currently operates a hybrid Plan B. Students attend two days of in-person instruction, followed by three days of distance learning. The classroom days are alternated between two groups so that social distancing is kept below 50% and capacity on buses is less than 33%.

Currently, 4,200 students across the district attend in-person learning on Mondays and Tuesdays, and remote instruction the rest of the week. Another 4,400 students opted for Thursday and Fridays as their classroom days. In yet another option, 3,600 are enrolled in the all-virtual program.

The school district also recommended being “prepared for grades 6-12 to also begin Plan A during the second semester if approved by the governor.”

~Witten by Sandhills Sentinel Reporters John Patota and Dave Lukow. Photo by John Patota.

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