GCS Middle and High Schoolers Will Soon Return to Classrooms
Feb. 9, 2021 –Guilford County Schools’ middle and high school students will begin returning to classrooms over the next few weeks, a few grade levels at a time. The Guilford County Board of Education made its decision Tuesday night, following a presentation about the effects of remote learning on academic progress.
Middle and high schools will use a cohort model, with half of the students attending in-person on Monday and Tuesday, and the other half attending in-person on Thursday and Friday. The remaining days will be remote learning days.
Under the phased approach, sixth graders and ninth graders will return Monday, Feb. 22, or Thursday, Feb. 25, depending on the cohort. Then, seventh, 10th and 12th graders will return the week of March 1. Eighth graders and 11th graders will return the week of March 8.
“This plan continues our phased approach and allows us to get more students back in the building quickly,” says Marshall Matson, chief of schools. “We know that every day in the classroom will make a difference, and we want to give our students every chance to be successful.”
Students in 11th grade will take the ACT in person on Feb. 23 and March 9, 50% of the students at a time to allow for social distancing. To accommodate the extra students on campus, students in grades nine, 10 and 12 will learn remotely on these dates.
Prior to their decision, board members heard from district and public health leaders about the county’s progress regarding vaccinations and testing. Group 3, which includes K-12 public school employees, is the next group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, after healthcare and long-term care workers (Group 1) and those aged 65 or older (Group 2).
At this time, the Guilford County Department of Public Health doesn’t yet have a specific date for when Group 3 will begin vaccinations, but GCS staff will reach out to employees in Group 2 to help schedule vaccination appointments for those who are interested. GCS facilities may be used to aid in this process.
During the meeting, board members approved a resolution to request that North Carolina immediately opens Group 3 to receive vaccinations and to continue working with local health officials to facilitate the vaccination process for all 10,000 employees.
The board also heard a report on the possibility of establishing a rapid testing protocol within schools. The cost of the tests and the staff needed to administer them would exceed $500,000 per week.