Dare County students heading back to classrooms March 1

[Photo courtesy North Carolina Department of Public Instruction]

The Dare County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to begin sending students back into classrooms March 1.

Under the approved plan, pre-kindergarten through fifth grades would attend school in person four days per week and students in grades six through 12 would attend face-to-face instruction two days per week. The return to buildings would begin on Monday, March 1. Parents can still opt for virtual-only learning for the remainder of the school year.

“Our goal needs to be to get the schools open and to keep them open,” said Dare County schools superintendent John Farrelly.

But a bill before the North Carolina General Assembly may throw a wrench in the county’s current hybrid plan.

The state Senate on Tuesday voted in favor of the bill, which calls for students in all grade levels to return to in-person instruction “five days per week to the fullest extent possible.”

Under the plan approved by the Dare BOE, pre-k through fifth-graders would return to classrooms Monday through Thursday, with Friday a virtual day.

Middle and high school students would attend class in person either Monday and Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday, with the rest of the week remote learning.

Farrelly said the school division will have to retool plans should the state bill become a law. The state House of Representatives is expected to vote on the matter this week.

In a recent school district survey, 63.5 percent of parents and guardians said they intend to send their children back to school if that option is available. A little more than 20 percent said they will keep their children on virtual-only learning and 15.8 percent said they were undecided.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com