Local county school boards to begin making decisions on reopening

Published 4:19 pm Wednesday, July 15, 2020

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School districts statewide received their answer on July 14 as to what the plan is for the reopening of schools this coming August. Governor Roy Cooper announced during his press conference that schools will open following his “Plan B” scenario, allowing both in-person and remote learning while ensuring social distancing and safety guidelines are followed.

County school boards have been working on reopening plans for months now and will have a chance to discuss their options publicly this coming week.

The Dare County Board of Education has a special meeting set for Monday, July 20 at 2 p.m. to talk about what school will look like when the doors open for fall. Live audio only will be available for the public to listen in. A link to access the meeting along with information about submitting public comment will be posted on the district website.

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Chair Bea Basnight said that the superintendent, principals and administrators have been working hard on plans for August.

“Dr. Farrelly will be presenting different options for the board, and we plan to make a decision on Monday,” Basnight told The Coastland Times. She shared that Tuesday’s press conference had left the district with some new regulations that they had not heard of before, such as everyone being required to wear a mask.

Basnight said that before, the district was under the impression that no one under the age of 12 would be required to wear a mask. This new news has added more to the mix in terms of decision-making; Basnight relayed that their Monday meeting may take 3 to 4 hours.

“There are no really good options,” she started, “we just have to do what we feel is safest and best . . . we have to tailor our plan to what best suits our students needs.”

Superintendent of Tyrrell County Schools Oliver Holley is in the process of pinning down a date to meet with Tyrrell’s school board and finalize plans for their reopening. “We had a work session last Monday to look at the options,” Holley said on July 15. Staff has been meeting for several months to sort out plans.

Holley shared that the directors and school leaders have been in constant communication via video conferencing and email since Cooper announced his plans for schools. The board is shooting for a Monday, July 20 meeting to discuss all the options before them.

Superintendent of Hyde County Schools Steve Basnight said that at this time, his board does not have a planned meeting in between now and their regularly scheduled one on August 4.

“Our plans have been pretty much in line with what the governor came out with,” Basnight said. He shared that the district had been planning for Cooper’s Plan B since the options were laid out by the state. They also went ahead and made remote learning plans.

Basnight believed that even with Plan B, Hyde County Schools would be able to bring back all their students for in-person learning, given their small numbers. “We do have the blessing of having small numbers, so our feeling all along was whether it was Plan A or B, we had the capacity to bring almost all of our student back while social distancing.”

As for Currituck County Schools, Board of Education Chair Karen Etheridge said the board has been having discussions weekly about the reopening of schools. She shared that the board will meet on Wednesday, July 22 at 4:30 p.m. to publicly make a decision on the status of school in the fall. “We will have an open session meeting on the 22nd with all of the board members to implement our plan based on the governor’s.”



North Carolina schools will open to in-person and virtual instruction in the fall, Phase 2 extended