Thomasville City Schools officials announce schools will reopen with online learning, will make decision about in-class instruction September 7

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THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Officials with Thomasville City Schools released a statement on Friday, saying schools will reopen under the state’s “Plan C,” which is the option for fully remote learning.

The full statement is provided below:

“Superintendent Dr. Catherine Gentry and the Board of Education Chairperson, James Carmichael, today announce specific plans for reopening schools in the TCS district. Absent a change in public health data, and/or a change mandated from the governor, Thomasville City Schools will open the 2020-2021 school year under the state’s “Plan C”. Plan C is the fully remote option.

The Board and I are pleased to announce the creation of a brand new initiative, the TRAIL (Thomasville Remote Academy of Innovative Learning) Program. The TRAIL Program became an option for TCS students once surveys revealed an interest in continued online learning. TRAIL is an alternative to traditional face-to-face instruction offering personalized, rigorous online learning facilitated by Thomasville City Schools’ teachers. Participation in the TRAIL Program is free. Parents who are interested in their students continuing their learning remotely may apply using the form and directions located on the TCS Website. Both first semester and complete-year options are available. Applications will be accepted July 20th until July 31st at 3:30 p.m.

TRAIL will begin for accepted students on August 17, 2020.

Student Nutrition services will continue to serve meals to TCS students on a weekly basis as has been practiced since March. Students not participating in the TRAIL Program will also begin school on August 17th and will operate under the perimeters set forth in the state’s Plan C.

Plan C offers remote/online instruction district-wide. TCS expects to operate schools under Plan C perimeters through September 7, 2020 at which time, data will be reexamined to make decisions in order to move forward.

Dr. Gentry states that ‘the return to school will pose challenges, however, I am confident that we can move our district forward in a way that best serves the academic, social-emotional, health, and nutritional needs of the district while also achieving a safe environment for students and staff.’

‘This has been an unprecedented time for our students and educators,’ comments Mr. Carmichael, ‘the School Board and I understand reopening will be no easy feat, however, we are confident that Dr. Gentry and her staff have prepared a creative and innovative reopening plan for the 2020-2021 school year maintaining the number one goal as the health and safety of all students and staff.’

The decision to reopen in the manner selected was not an easy decision nor was it taken lightly. ‘Our families and staff did an amazing job during the emergency shutdown for the last three months of the 2019-20 school year with no time for preparing and/or planning. The effort by both students and educators was nothing short of heroic,’ says Dr. Gentry. In online surveys and numerous virtual parent meetings conducted by the district, administrators quickly recognized the need for flexibility in reopening schools. The decisions made by the Board are in the best interest of safety, educational growth, academic achievement, and student equity.

‘This pandemic represents more than a virus, it represents an historic disruption to our school community and it created barriers to how we best deliver academic and non-academic supports in a manner that is accessible, equitable, and meaningful,’ Chairperson Carmichael said. ‘The Board of Education stands with our educators, families, and students as we commit to devoting the 2020-2021 school year to creativity, innovation, courage, and reimagining of ‘school’ for better outcomes and brighter futures.’

The district is pleased to also announce a video series to assist students and parents in preparing for reopening. Topics will include TRAIL Introduction & Participation, Building and Bus Safety, Attendance, Tardy, and Grading Expectations, Protocol for Sick Students at School, and Meal Pick Ups, just to name a few. Please continue to check out TCS social media sites, TCS webpage, and Channel 13 for these and other helpful communications.

All TCS plans are dependent upon health data and are informed by experts in the health care field, we will continue our efforts to prepare and be ready to pivot in order to offer completely remote or completely face-to-face instruction at any time during the 2020-2021 school year. Plan C will be used to open the school year. The Board of Education and district staff are committed to reviewing health data and student progress prior to Labor Day in order to assess next steps and possible phasing in of some face-to-face options for students.”

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