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Dare public schools set to reopen Monday for in-person instruction

Dare County Schools Superintendent John Farrelly released the following information Thursday afternoon regarding the opening of the district’s public schools for in-person instruction on Monday, March 1:

“We are looking forward to taking a big leap forward next week and reopening schools for in-person instruction on Monday, March 1. This email will provide you with resources and reminders as we transition back to face-to-face (F2F) learning for families that have chosen that option.

“The current DCS instructional program:

“(1.) PreK-5: 4 Days a Week Hybrid: Students attend (F2F) Monday- Thursday each week.  Friday is an asynchronous learning day for all.

“(2.) 6-12: 2 Days a Week Hybrid: Cohort A (half the alphabet) attends Monday/Tuesday and is remote Wednesday/Thursday. Cohort B (the other half of the alphabet) attends Wednesday/Thursday and is remote Monday/Tuesday. Friday is an asynchronous learning day for all.

“(3.) Virtual Learning remains an option for all students K-12 for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. 

“Guiding Documents:

“NC Public Schools are required to follow the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12). Here you will find all of the protocols and requirements that we will follow in DCS.

“Dare County Schools has also produced the Returning to School and Work Safely Guidebook for families and staff. The guidebook has been updated to include all of our local low contact procedures for staff and students.

“Daily Health Attestation and Temperature Checks:

“Our required daily health screening text/email process will restart on Monday morning beginning at 6:00 am. Please respond to the 3 required questions on a daily basis by 7:15 am (before students are on campus). To fill out a preference request, you will need to login to your PowerSchool Parent Portal. Our thermal temperature units will take the temperature of all students and staff members when they enter our schools.

“Daily Student Reminders:

“* As a reminder, everyone above the age of 5 is expected to wear a cloth face covering on all DCS buses and in school facilities (unless there is an exemption). Outside mask breaks will be provided at different points in the day and while students eat breakfast and lunch.

“* Please remind your children to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer during the day. Teachers will remind students frequently.

“* Social distancing is required and will be emphasized throughout the day. Students will be reminded to stay on the right and left sides of school hallways, 6 feet apart.

“Technology Devices:

“Elementary students who checked out a device for remote learning will need to bring it back to school with them when they return to school on Monday. Devices will be available to go back home in the case of quarantine or to do online remote work as needed (grades 3-5).

“Nutrition Program:

“* All meals are free for the remainder of the year to all students (F2F and virtual). Students attending F2F may eat breakfast and lunch at school.

“* Curbside meals will be available for free for virtual and remote student families on Mon/Wed/Fri. Curbside locations are CHSS, MMS, and FFHS from 11:00 -12:30. Friday free meal distribution will be available to all students at various locations throughout the county from 11:00-12:30. Please refer to our website for those meal distribution sites.

“New CDC Guidance Regarding Quarantine for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

“NC DHHS will follow the CDC’s new guidance regarding quarantining for fully vaccinated individuals. Vaccinated persons with exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine for 90 days if they meet certain criteria. This is very good news for us locally as over 80% of our staff members have received their second Pfizer vaccination. This should result in a significant drop in the amount of staff who may have to be quarantined for the next 90 days. We will carefully track our data for the next several weeks to determine if we can ease our local contact level restrictions following spring break.

“In closing, we are excited to be in a position to reopen schools again and to have the opportunity to reconnect with your children. I am highly confident that we will keep our schools open for the remainder of the school year and continue on a path to easing the necessary restrictions that are in place. It’s been a long year for all of us but much better times are ahead. Thank you for your resiliency, your collaboration, and your commitment to pulling together despite the many challenges that we have faced.

“I’m proud to serve you, your children, our awesome DCS employees, our Board of Education and our community.”

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