Guilford County Schools weighs closing, keeping 25% of kids in school

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Officials with Guilford County Schools said they are considering a hybrid method that would keep 25% of kids in school if they do need to close.

The 25% of students would be made up of kids of first responders, kids with no access to technology, kids who need extra help and kids of healthcare workers.

Superintendent of Schools for Guilford County Sharon Contreras said that GCS officials are preparing to close if they need to by making sure bus drivers and food service workers would not go without pay.

One reason for deciding not to close the schools right now is students who live in group homes and shelters will be at risk of losing support if the schools closed, officials say.

Contreras said census data shows that around 25% of students do not have internet access and only have readily available technology at home, so they would not be able to easily access an online learning platform.

“The students already behind are the ones who will be further behind not just in Guilford County but across the state and across the nation,” Contreras said.

Northern Guilford High School and Gateway Education Center will be closed on Friday for additional cleaning, the schools announced late Thursday night.

Northern Guilford High said in a statement on Facebook that no one in the building is being tested for coronavirus and no one has tested positive.

“I apologize for the late hour for this notice,” NGHS said in the announcement. “However, we are doing everything we can to protect the health and well-being of our students and staff.”

Gateway’s announcement was posted to the Gateway PTA and Friends Facebook page.

“Out of an abundance of caution, Gateway is closed tomorrow for cleaning,” the school said. “Thank you for your patience! Keeping our kids healthy is the number one priority.”

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