GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — The idea of what in-class sessions will look like come August for school districts across the state still remains a big question mark, and many are weary over the risk of spreading the virus even more.
Guilford County Schools leaders held a work session virtual meeting Thursday afternoon discussing in detail the guidelines of the plans laid out by the governor and how they would adhere to Plan A, B and C.
The discussions were centered around social distancing requirements, cleaning and hygiene requirements, how to deal with the vulnerable population, and those who are ill, in addition to how the mandatory mask mandate will be enforced.
“We do recognize that it helps keep everyone safer and so we have to spend our time focusing on training and creating a culture where masks are a part of our new normal,” said a school board representative during the virtual meeting.
Many in the district feel as if the virus is still running rampant and poses as a danger to both students, teachers, and staff if school reopens even with distancing requirements in place.
“We have not come out on the other end of a downward spiral of the virus. We’re seeing more cases of the virus, and we’re still looking at how to push our students and teachers into the school building. I don’t think that is fair at all,” said Blake Odum, the youth development coordinator at Vandalia Elementary School.
Odum applauds the district for the work that’s been done so far with offering online learning schools and being at the forefront of the conversation at the state level but Odum disagrees with the forceful federal push to reopen schools.
“It’s unfair to our teachers to be forced to choose between their life and their livelihood. That is unfair when you have threats coming out of DC that we’re going to withhold funding from public education,” said Odum.
Others agree and believe districts should wait longer before reopening for the sake of everyone’s health.
“My biggest fear heading back into the classroom is we come back too soon and teachers, as well as students, become infected, and it becomes a massive outbreak,” said Roy Wright, who is a Guilford County teaching assistant for EC students.
The next scheduled GCS meeting is next Tuesday when the discussion of reopening guidelines will continue.