- Southwood Elementary School
4-day-a-week in-person schedule an option where possible
LCPS students currently going to school twice a week for face-to-face instruction can move to a four-day-a-week schedule in January provided public health guidelines can still be met at their school and in their classroom.
The Lenoir County Board of Education unanimously approved the expanded instructional schedule for K-12 students on Monday night following the recommendation of Superintendent Brent Williams.
Parents must apply for their students to be part of the expanded schedule. Applications will be handled through individual schools, where administrators will make direct contact with parents and caretakers of current face-to-face students by Friday, Dec. 11.
“Our intention is to enable students to benefit from even more face-to-face instruction,” Williams said. “Currently we have Cohort A and Cohort B. Adding students might not be possible at all schools or in every classroom, but we would like to try to do all that we can to make these additional opportunities possible. We want to allow parents to have the option to increase the level of choice available to them and to apply for a second cohort track.”
Under the hybrid, or Plan B, model LCPS adopted in late September, about 60 percent of students physically attend school on a staggered scheduled, half on Monday and Tuesday and half on Thursday and Friday. They combine those two days of classroom time with three days of remote instruction. Wednesday is a remote learning day for all students and a deep-cleaning day for schools; it would remain so under the new four-day option.
LCPS also offers a fully remote option for about 40 percent of its students. This option will continue to be offered in the second semester. Students who are currently fully remote do not have to apply or otherwise notify their school if they would like to stay on that plan.
The new option, dubbed Plan B+, would begin with the second semester in January. However, parents and caretakers interested in four days of face-to-face instruction for their students are asked to apply through their schools by Wednesday, Dec. 16.
District administrators and principals will use the lead time to determine the impact of applications – that is, the number of students and schools they represent – on spaces where social distancing needs to be maintained, particularly buses and classrooms.
Williams characterized Plan B+ as “an extension of what already is. You’re not really changing anything else. You’re just looking at students who are already face-to-face and parents who would desire for their students to be in face-to-face instruction more than they currently are – four days instead of two days,” the superintendent told school board members.
“We have already been doing this with special education students and with students of staff members, and we feel it is fair and appropriate to do that with as many students as we can if space allows,” Williams said.
While the number of students receiving face-to-face instruction at a particular school would not increase, the Plan B+ option would add to the number of students at school on any given day. A school’s capacity for accommodating this increase would depend, among other factors, on the percentage of its students who are fully remote and the concentration of current face-to-face students in a particularly grade level or even in a particular classroom.
Williams acknowledged that it would be more difficult to initiate Plan B+ at some schools than at others. “There’s not a perfect solution for this or even a one-size-fits-all, but this would allow where space does allow in schools for us to work down that road and accommodate more students. We think it’s a progressive step.”