As educators, we are always planning. Even before this school year ended, we were working on plans for the 2020-2021 school year. It is likely that our return to school next year will be unlike any start of school we have experienced, but we will be ready.
ABSS is actively collaborating with our school district neighbors all across the Piedmont Triad in sharing expertise and best practices with each other to ensure we all are well prepared and strongly positioned for a safe, highly successful return to school in August.
Work groups in our district have been planning for reopening our schools for several weeks already. Our top priority is the health and safety of our students, staff and families. Our commitment to our community is that we will not place students and employees in learning environments that pose significant health risks.
Last week, all school districts received initial guidance and requirements about school reopening from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Our goal is to be well prepared for any situation that our community may be facing in August with restrictions related to COVID-19. All school districts in North Carolina must develop three plans including a normal school schedule, a modified schedule at reduced capacity because of constraints due to social distancing requirements, and a learning-at-home format (Plans A, B, C). The guidance provided by the state will continue to be updated and we will adjust our plans for back to school as situations warrant.
Currently, ABSS personnel are carefully reviewing our district’s preliminary plans and tweaking them to ensure compliance with all health and safety requirements outlined in the state guidance documents. We’ve surveyed our school communities on remote learning during our mandated school shutdown. For now, our main focus is on the essential actions outlined in these documents to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for students, staff, and families. The Governor’s Office and public health experts at NCDHHS will decide which plan school districts must follow based on state or regional metrics regarding COVID-19. An announcement is expected by July 1.
ABSS is preparing by developing extra cleaning protocols for schools, implementing new procedures to ensure appropriate social distancing and other safety guidelines for our classrooms and schools, and ordering needed supplies as outlined in the two state guidance documents.
This document includes our preliminary back to school plans. We will continue to make adjustments as needed. There is no doubt about it: our school routines will be different, but we will be prepared and ready.
It will be challenging to meet the guidelines from the state. It will also be challenging to meet the academic and social/emotional needs of our students when we return after being apart since March. But ABSS will be prepared for those challenges and we look forward to launching our new school year with solid plans to implement that will protect the health and safety of our school families. We don’t have all of the answers yet and we are looking to the state for additional guidance, but we are planning now for a variety of situations with our highest priority on the health and safety of our students and colleagues.
Public schools are a vital part of our community. Looking forward to a new school year gives us all hope, as well as a sense of returning to some normalcy. As our plans are developed and as more information from the state is available, we will continue to share important information and guidelines about our return to school in August. With everyone’s support and input, I am confident we will be successful together.
Click on the image below to view the documents.