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School districts to weigh re-entry options for elementary schools

School districts to weigh re-entry options for elementary schools


Following Gov. Roy Cooper’s announcement on reopening elementary schools last week, the leaders of the three school systems in Catawba County have some decisions to make.

Hickory Public Schools and Catawba County Schools plan to review their options in upcoming district school board meetings. The Hickory meeting will be Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Northview Middle School, and the Catawba County meeting will take place the same day at 5:30 p.m. in the Center for Administrative Services boardroom located at 2285 North Anderson Ave. in Newton.

“We are excited that we now have this option because we know that learning in-person is best for our students, families, and staff. However, we need to carefully consider all aspects of everyone's health and safety before making our decision,” said Catawba County Schools Superintendent Matt Stover in a letter to parents.

Newton-Conover City Schools also informed parents of the re-entry option. “We are going to continue to plan as a school board, district leadership, and our elementary principal leaders for what Plan A re-entry may look like while identifying barriers to implementation,” said Newton-Conover Superintendent Aron Gabriel in a video to parents.

Gabriel added that Newton-Conover will begin holding meetings with elementary school leaders, “in the very near future,” and that parents will be given an opportunity to provide feedback as well.

The Plan A reopening option for elementary schools can begin on Oct. 5, but Cooper is leaving the decision up to individual school districts. School districts deciding to follow the Plan A option for elementary schools won’t be limited in the number of students per classroom, but safety precautions such as mask wearing, social distancing and regular sanitation will still be required.

The state chose to open elementary schools because of the importance of in-person learning at a young age, according to a previous Hickory Daily Record article. Cooper gave no timeline for when middle and high schools will be allowed to return to full, in-person instruction.

Emily Willis is a general assignment and education reporter at the Hickory Daily Record. 


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