All Dare students can attend class four days a week starting Monday
All Dare County students are invited back to school buildings for four days of face-to-face instruction under the option chosen by Dare’s school board on Thursday, April 1, 2021.
The virtual learning option continues to be offered.
On a 6-1 vote, the board chose Option 2 of three offered by the Dare County School administration.
The decision means pre-k through 12 students can attend class four days a week with Friday a day when instructional materials are offered, but no live classroom video is provided. School teachers and staff use the day for planning.
Dare elementary schools are already on this schedule. The board’s decision puts all schools on the same schedule.
On Monday, April 12, middle and high schools will have a teacher workday to transition to the new schedule. Grades 6 through 12 are currently on a hybrid schedule with students separated into two cohort groups with each group attending face-to-face classes two days a week and virtually two days a week.
The formal title for the new and last instructional change is Plan A.
Under the new plan, social distancing cannot be guaranteed.
The special meeting was called for the board to deal with changes caused by General Assembly legislation SB 220. Dare County Schools is currently conforming to all mandates but one in the legislation, reported Superintendent John Farrelly.
That legislation requires school districts to offer instruction four days a week to students with an individualized education plan or section 504 plan. Under the current plan, these students in grades 6 through 12 are only offered two days of in class instruction. In the chosen Plan A, four days of in-class instruction are offered to all students. In a survey, 170 students of a possible 450 students, also including students with English development plans, want to return to school four days a week.
For bus transportation, the legislation does not require one student per seat except for siblings. Dare will continue the one student per seat requirement.
Daily health screenings are optional under the legislation. However, Dare will continue the three-question health screens and emailed or texted results. The thermal temperature units will continue to be used. After the COVID-19 pandemic passes, these machines can be converted to check in visitors, said Farrelly.
Across North Carolina, wearing face masks is mandated. In Dare Schools, “everyone above the age of 5 is expected to wear a cloth face covering on all system buses and in school facilities,” states an announcement.
The announcement also states all meals are free for the remainder of the year to all students. Students attending school may eat breakfast and lunch at school. Curbside meals are available for free for virtual and remote student families on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Curbside locations are Cape Hatteras Secondary School, Manteo Middle School and First Flight High School from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday free meal distribution is available to all students at various locations throughout the county during the same time period. Refer to the Dare County Schools website, daretolearn.org, for those meal distribution sites.
The special meeting was held Thursday, April 1, 2021 in the First Flight High School gymnasium.
Staff and Student COVID-19 Vaccinations
Dare County Schools reports that since the first vaccine clinic in January, 2021:
– 85+% of staff have been fully vaccinated.
– 200 young adults aged 16-18 have received a first dose; about 70 more were slated to participate in an April 2 clinic. Superintendent John Farrelly reported that some number of those young adults came from other counties.
– Fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from quarantine (90-day restriction removed).
– Anticipate vaccine will be available for children 12 and older within the next month.
Staff and Student COVID-19 Cases and Quarantines
Since Dare County Schools returned to face-to-face instruction on March 1, 2021:
– 1 staff testing positive
– 15 students testing positive
– 8 staff have been quarantined
– 196 student quarantines
– 242 total quarantines
The majority of the student quarantines (132) are attributed to five elementary positive cases where social distancing is not required by Plan A in the classroom.
Source: Dare County Schools, April 1, 2021