DCS Superintendent addresses coronavirus, launches new website
Published 1:37 pm Sunday, March 15, 2020
On March 10, the Dare County Board of Education met at First Flight High School to hold their monthly meeting. Due to current circumstances worldwide, Superintendent John Farrelly took a few minutes to address the coronavirus and its impact on the school system.
“Our first message is try to remain calm,” he started. Farrelly assured that with the drastically changing nature of the virus, the school system is thinking about the impacts to children, staff and family members 24/7.
To attempt to mitigate spread, administration has been providing daily updates to students every day. Safety precautions such as washing hands, sneezing into arms/tissues, staying home if you feel sick and the like are being communicated.
“We’ve had county-wide meetings to address where we are currently and possibility of plans,” Farrelly said. That day, Governor Cooper had declared a state of emergency to provide and allocate resources as necessary to expedite mitigation efforts. Farrelly said at that point, the school system was looking into obtaining a Clorox Total 360 machine for the schools.
Farrelly said the machine “in less than 3 minutes disinfect an entire classroom and can do a school in about 3 hours.” The machine is about $5,000. Due to circumstances, Farrelly said they were struggling to get a Clorox Total 360 soon, but making efforts to do so.
He noted that the custodial maintenance team was working rigorously and more sanitizing stations had been purchased and placed within DCS.
In a press release sent out by Digital Communications Director Keith Parker on March 12, Farrelly addressed athletics and out of county travel for DCS:
“Good afternoon. I have 2 announcements as we monitor the potential impacts of the Coronavirus:
- The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has announced the following:
The Board of Directors has moved to suspend interscholastic athletics beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020 through Monday, April 6th, 2020. The NCHSAA Board of Directors will assess this situation regularly over the next few weeks. This includes all workouts, skill development, practices, and contests.
- Dare County Schools is suspending all out of county travel indefinitely. This includes all field trips, meetings, and professional development.
Thank you for your support of our efforts to be proactive in mitigating potential impacts in our communities. We are going to release a COVID-19 resource and support site on our district website tomorrow morning via email.
On March 13, Farrelly announced that there will be a new website launched via the DCS website to communicate information regarding the coronavirus and its effect on schools quicker and more efficiently.
According to Parker, “the website will be a place anybody can go to see what the status of school athletics and classes is, as well as providing information about general hygiene.”
To view the website, CLICK HERE.
On March 14, Governor Roy Cooper announced an executive order that closed all North Carolina public schools for at least the next two weeks. “We do not have the luxury of a wait-and-see approach. These are hard decisions but they are necessary so we can learn more about the virus,” Cooper said
The DCS leadership team has developed a remote learning plan. “We are prepared to begin a K-12 remote learning program that will commence this week,” Farrelly said in a press release on Saturday.
On March 15, after two morning meetings to discuss the remote learning plan, DCS released a statement regarding where the school system will go from here.
“Dare County Schools is prepared to transition to remote learning for all students grades K-12 on Monday, March 23, 2020. We will use online learning resources to support our students during this difficult and unprecedented time. While we realize online learning cannot fully substitute the quality of a face-to-face classroom, we are prepared to provide our students with creative and unique opportunities to continue their education while schools are closed.”
Teachers will attend training sessions this coming week and parents will be able to sign out devices and pick up supplies from their child’s respective school to help in the remote learning process.
DCS also announced that the School Nutrition Department will serve breakfast and lunch to all children of ages 0 through 18 living in Dare county.
“These meals are at no cost and will be available as long as our schools are closed due to the Governor’s Executive Order. The meals can be picked up at Manteo Elementary School, First Flight Elementary School, and Cape Hatteras Elementary School. Additionally, we are working with local businesses to arrange a meal pick-up location in each community in Dare County. Meals will be served Monday through Friday starting on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Breakfast will be available from 7:45am – 8:45am while lunch will be available from 11:00am – 12:30am. You can contact School Nutrition Director, Kelleta Govan (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions and for more information.”
For more information, visit www.daretolearn.org.
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