Governor Roy Cooper closed all schools in North Carolina starting Monday, March 16. Schools will stay closed through Friday, March 27. The closings are due to concerns over the health crisis – the coronavirus – that’s caused a change in scheduling across the nation. 

Cooper made the announcement Saturday, March 14.

During the shutdown, school facilities are closed to visitors who don’t have appointments.

The Moore County Board of Education – at a special session called for March 16 – met to discuss a continuation of programs while schools are closed. It was stressed that it’s an ongoing situation, one changing at a rapid pace.

“The day we had hoped to avoid has arrived,” Elizabeth Carter, the board’s chair, said, before an appearance by Dr. Tim Locklair, the district’s chief officer for academics and student support services.

Board members learned that a team started preparing more than two weeks before the governor’s executive order closing schools. The preparation led to the cancellation of field trips, district events and athletic events, which was announced toward the end of last week.

A primary concern of the district has been how to feed students in need during the closings. Officials have been talking with community partners that conduct summer feeding programs, according to Locklair, who said the issue was a priority for the governor and the district.

In collaboration with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Sandhills, Moore County Schools will begin distributing meals for children 18 and under beginning Wednesday, March 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Lunch and next-day breakfast will be provided in sanitized containers. Meals will be distributed curbside at the front of Southern Middle School, Crain’s Creek Middle School and Elise Middle School. Please stay tuned for additional details as the program continues to expand and food delivery is coordinated in conjunction with local service organizations.

Locklair also commended, amongst others, teachers, principals and coaches, for working on a plan to continue learning through the closure. It was noted by Dr. Mike Metcalf, the district’s executive director for academics and student support services, that an objective is having both consistency and flexibility. Trusting the professional teaching community, because they know district students the best, was also emphasized. 

The ways other districts, including those that regularly deal with snow closings, continue with learning programs, have been studied.

“We can offer activities, ideas and resources for students to practice skills and review content,” Metcalf, who has been with Moore County Schools since 2002, said.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.

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