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School board approves moving K-12 to Plan A, effective March 22

With S.B. 220 now signed into law, Beaufort County Schools will implement Plan A for grades K-12 as of March 22.

Plan A allows students to return to the classroom with minimal social distancing requirements. Grades K-5 in Beaufort County already have access to Plan A in-person classes, so the change mostly affects the county’s middle schools and high schools. The district will offer in-person classes four days a week for all grade levels, and Wednesdays will still be remote learning days for the entire district. Families will still be able to choose between in-person and remote learning, but they’ll need to stick with their choice for the remainder of the school year.

Schools will soon be reaching to families to offer guidance and information.

In a called meeting shortly before Gov. Roy Cooper signed S.B. 220 Thursday evening, the Beaufort County Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a recommendation to move to Plan A. The bill, titled The Reopen Our Schools Act of 2020, requires all local school administrative units to provide in-person instruction for grades K-12 through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

“Right now I feel like we’re prepared to go back to Plan A for the rest of the school year,” Beaufort County Schools Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman said. “And I feel like for next year we’re in a good place to be face-to-face versus virtual five days a week.”

If S.B. 220 had fallen through, Cheeseman said the school system had a viable alternative in H.B. 90, a local bill that would allow Beaufort County and 13 other districts to offer in-person classes five days a week for grades K-12. Cheeseman commended Rep. Keith Kidwell for making sure Beaufort County was included in that bill.

The school board also approved a recommendation for BCS to join the ABC Science Collaborative of the School of Medicine at Duke University. Per S.B. 220, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction is contracting with Duke for the ABC Collaborative, which will provide “data collation, analysis, interpretation of COVID-19 related metrics of student, teacher and staff safety for local school administrative units providing in-person instruction under Plan A for middle and high school students.”