2020-2021 School Reopening Updates

WCPS is back in session - Here is what you need know:

On Tuesday, September 8, Wayne County Public Schools transitioned from Plan C, full remote, to Plan B, a hybrid of face-to-face and remote instruction. Approximately 11,460 students are taking part in Plan B, which incorporates many health and safety restrictions, including health screenings, reduced numbers of students in classrooms, and social distancing. In Plan B, participating students are split up in cohorts, which allow students to attend school on-site while others are remote on A, B, or C Days. Approximately six thousand students are attending the district’s 100% virtual school program.

 
“Overall, the opening went smoothly for schools,” states Dr. James Merrill, interim superintendent. “We did have a small number of bus delays and some slowdowns in the car rider line during the health screening process, which was to be expected. We also had a 95% attendance rate with teachers.”
 
Information specific to the district’s response to COVID-19 can be found on this page. Here a few key updates:
Opt Out of Recorded Lessons
As a part of remote instruction, WCPS utilizes various online video conferencing tools to allow teachers to meet and interact with students in live online classes much like they do in their classrooms at school. Because not all students are able to participate in “real time” online classes, our teachers are recording their “live” lessons so that they can be replayed by students at a later time. Parents, if you do not want your child to participate in a live classroom lessons that may be videotaped, please complete the form below and turn in to your child's teacher. Note: If your child does not participate in a recorded lessons, they will have to watch the recordings of the lessons at a later time. This means that your child will be unable to ask questions or interact with classmates in the same way other participating students can while the online lesson is occurring. 


Cleaning & Sanitizing
WCPS continues using special state and federal funding to purchase cleaning equipment and supplies to support sanitization and disinfectant efforts at schools. Every school has been provided disinfectant cleaning equipment that can be used daily to disinfect both the air and contact surfaces in all of the classrooms, common areas, restrooms, and other areas where people have been. Additionally, similar disinfectant cleaning equipment has been purchased for daily cleaning of buses. Classroom supplies continue being purchased to support teacher and staff efforts to sanitize desks and other contact surfaces in between students. At this time, teachers have been provided refillable hand sanitizer, wipes and spray cleaners, which will be refilled and resupplied as needed. Hand sanitizer stations have also been provided to all of the schools for placement in key areas of their campus.
 
WCPS is actively restocking schools and classrooms as needed while at the same time it is working to keep supplies ordered and on hand. In addition to all of the cleaning, disinfectant, and sanitization supplies already provided to the schools, WCPS currently has: more than 500 gallon refills of hand sanitizer and approximately 800 16-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer; over 2,400 packs of alcohol wipes (50 in a pack) and one hundred fifty-six containers of wipes (75 wipers per container); 31 buckets of alcohol wipes (300 wipes in a bucket) with 3,000 more buckets expected later this week; and over 4,000 quart bottles of cleaning spray with another 6,000 bottles on the way (Spray heads are also on the way - At this time, bottles are being used with rags to clean contact surfaces).    
 
Health Screenings, Masks & Social Distancing
All students, parents, staff and visitors have to take part in Health Screenings to remain on a WCPS campus, which includes a temperature check and answering three attestation questions specific to COVID-19. All Plan B students and school staff have been provided five washable/reusable masks. There will be some instances where someone has a verified exemption, such as a medical condition, which will allow them to be on a WCPS campus without a mask. Unless they have a verified exemption, all students, staff and visitors are required to wear masks on campuses and school buses. Everyone is also being required to maintain 6 feet social distancing, which is reinforced with spaced seating in the classroom.
 
Curbside Meals for remote students
Daily curbside pickup will continue to be available at most schools from 11:30 AM until 1 PM for remote students to receive a free and healthy lunch or breakfast. Edgewood and Wayne Academy students who are remote need to visit a school closest to them if they would like to pick up their meals.

WCPS COVID 19 - Response FAQ

On August 18, WCPS announced that it would be sending out alerts when an individual who has recently been on a school campus has since tested positive for COVID-19. The district also republicized its protocols and shared more details about cleaning and sanitizing efforts. Since that time, the district has received a number of follow-up questions regarding its protocols.


To support our staff, families, and the public we felt it would be helpful to release the following FAQ:


What are the basic expectations for students, parents, staff and visitors who come on to a school campus?

Upon arrival to a school, everyone has to take part in Health Screenings, which includes a temperature check and answering 3 attestation questions specific to COVID-19. There will be some instances where someone has a verified exemption, such as a medical condition, which will allow them to be on a WCPS campus without a mask. Unless they have a verified exemption, all students, staff and visitors are required to wear masks on campuses and school buses. Everyone is also being required to maintain 6 feet social distancing and adhere to any signage specific to walkways, entrances or exits.


Why did the district begin sending out “WCPS COVID-19 Alerts” via its App and Facebook page?

While WCPS is not required to send out general alerts, we believe with the return of students and staff that a school community should be informed when an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 has recently been on a school campus. Moving forward, families at an impacted school will also receive a notification via the district’s call system in addition to being able to receive alerts via the district's mobile app and facebook page: @WayneCountyPS. NOTE: While the district will not release confidential student or staff information, “close contacts” (individuals within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) who may have been potentially exposed to a person with COVID-19 will be directly notified.


What variables are considered in determining if a WCPS COVID-19 Alert is sent?  (New: Updated 9-16-20)
The most critical variable in determining if a WCPS COVID-19 Alert is communicated is the timeframe, which has a window spanning several days and takes into account when an individual began experiencing symptoms, was tested for COVID-19, and was last on a WCPS campus.

Why doesn’t WCPS provide more specifics in its alerts, like whether it was a student, parent, staff member or visitor who has COVID-19?

While COVID-19 is on the minds of everyone, and understandably so, a person’s individual medical information is their own. While it is true that reporting this information wouldn’t necessarily identify someone who has COVID-19 to the general public, our schools have gotten smaller in Plan B/C and Virtual, meaning there are fewer people coming onto our campuses. WCPS will not release any details in its alerts which, through the process of elimination, may lead to the identification of an “individual” that has COVID-19. WCPS will also make every effort to prevent creating an environment where upon return from quarantine a student may be bullied by their classmates, a staff member may be ostracized by their peers, or a person may experience shame or some other negative feeling simply because they had gotten sick or diagnosed with COVID-19.


Will an alert be sent if someone who was at a school had to quarantine because they learned they are a “close contact”? 

Being a “close contact” and having COVID-19 are not the same thing.  As such, WCPS will not send an alert simply because an individual at a school was named a “close contact” and asked to quarantine and self-monitor. WCPS will however send an alert if that same individual begins showing symptoms during their first week of quarantine and are tested and found positive for COVID-19.

 
Why is WCPS not releasing alerts for remote/virtual students or staff approved for teleworking who test positive for COVID-19? (New: Updated 9-16-20)
Our alerts serve as a public health awareness tool for all of the students, staff, parents and visitors who are physically coming on to our campuses. As there is community spread of COVID-19, it is a fact that there are going to be some WCPS students, staff and family members not coming on to our campuses who test positive for COVID-19. WCPS will only send an alert if an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 has recently been on a school campus.

I was at a school where an alert went out. Does this mean I was exposed to someone with COVID-19?

As a part of the district’s response, any “close contacts” who were potentially exposed will be personally contacted and told to quarantine for 14 days and self-monitor. This means if you were at a school where an individual that tested positive was on the campus and you were not directly notified, then you are not considered a “close contact”.


There have been regular alerts being sent?  Does this mean that schools are having the biggest issues in our county with COVID-19?

Cases of COVID-19 are not something new in Wayne County and our alerts are not highlighting a new problem that is occurring at this time. Rather the alerts are shining a light on what the Wayne County government has been reporting since March, which is that individuals in our county, like counties across our nation, are testing positive for COVID-19. Along with our schools, there are businesses, restaurants, hotels, churches, and other public agencies in our county that are also being impacted when employees, customers, or visitors with COVID-19 come into their facilities. Most entities experiencing similar situations are not sending out public alerts, so we understand why our alerts may be giving some a false impression that schools are the main ones being impacted.


How is WCPS responding when someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 comes onto a school campus?

WCPS has been and will continue following state guidance and working with local health officials in its response to COVID-19. The most current NCDHHS guidance and protocols can be found in the StrongSchoolsNC: Public Health Toolkit (K-12) and the Reference Guide for Suspected, Presumptive, or Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 (K-12).


Because the state’s guidance documents are filled with pages of information, resources and protocols for schools to follow, a more general explanation may be more helpful for families, staff and the community to understand. First, it is important to recognize that each situation at a school will vary and must be handled on a case by case basis. For instance, variables can differ such as when the person with COVID-19 came on to a campus, where they were on the campus, how long they were on the campus, when they were tested, why they were tested, when they tested positive, when they got their results, if they are currently experiencing symptoms, if they were symptomatic at the time they were on campus, when they began experiencing symptoms, if they have been quarantined, if they were already quarantined at the time of the test, when the last time any areas they were in were disinfected by custodial or operations staff, if there were any “close contacts”, if “close contacts” have been notified, if health officials have been notified yet, or if the school was notified by health officials.


As part of the district’s response, contact tracing will occur. If there are “close contacts” at a school, they will be personally notified and instructed to quarantine for 14 days and self-monitor. WCPS will also use cleaning equipment to disinfect both the air and contact surfaces in all areas of the building where the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 has been. In all instances, health officials will be notified. NOTE: WCPS will not be releasing details about a specific response at a school (areas being cleaned, if there were "close contacts" and if so how many, etc.) which could potentially lead to the identification of an individual that has COVID-19 who was recently on that campus.  


Below are the official protocols that WCPS follows in these situations: 


In the instance there is a cluster or outbreak of cases at a school, will the public be notified?

Yes. WCPS will work with the local health department and NCDHHS to publicly report if there is a cluster of cases or an outbreak of COVID-19 at a specific school. NOTE: In a child care or school setting, NCDHHS defines a COVID-19 cluster as a minimum of five laboratory confirmed cases with illness onsets or initial positive results within a 14-day period and plausible epidemiologic linkage between cases.  


[Posted 8-24-20 / Last Updated 9-16-20]

Key Dates

 

Key Dates

School

Instructional Plan

August 12   

Goldsboro High

First Day of School – Plan C Remote Instruction for all students

August 12  

Wayne Early/Middle College High

First Day of School - Plan B

August 12

Wayne School of Engineering

First Day of School - Plan B

August 17

Traditional Academic Calendar Schools

First Day of School – Plan C Remote Instruction for all students 

September 8

Goldsboro High

Start of Plan B

September 8

Traditional Academic Calendar Schools

Start of Plan B

 
The first three weeks of school will be remote instruction for all schools except Wayne Early/Middle College High and Wayne School of Engineering.  For traditional calendar schools, Back to School induction and information meetings will be held with families during the first week of school. If you have not yet been contacted, please reach out to your child's school to learn more and to make sure they have your best contact information on file. 

Find important resources, like handbooks and School Opening & Closing times by clicking on Parent Resources.

School Reopening Plans

The following documents are comprehensive reopening plans for WCPS schools. These plans are intended to address a variety of stakeholders' needs while also meeting the latest guidelines, recommendations and mandates from the State. 
       
  
   
  

Technology & Internet Access Survey

Student/Family Survey Information:  WCPS is using this survey in order to determine internet and device needs for our students as it relates to remote learning. Your participation in this survey is critical to our planning efforts for remote learning per NC Senate Bill 704.

Please complete a separate survey for each student in your household.  
Student Survey (Spanish)

Staff Survey Information:  WCPS is using this survey in order to determine internet and device needs for our teachers & support staff as it relates to remote learning. Your participation in this survey is critical to our planning efforts for remote learning per NC Senate Bill 704.

You must sign in with your WCPS Google Account to complete the survey.  

NC Guidelines for School Reopening

The following documents list the very specific requirements, mandates and expectations that schools need to implement or follow in order to reopen for remote or face-to-face instruction.
  

Remote Learning Facilities

Community organizations seeking to contract with WCPS to offer a “Remote Learning Facility” in order to provide care and support to students on remote instruction days should click on the following link:
  
         
 
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