School Reopening FAQ
Please be sure to check back often. Questions will be updated as new information becomes available.
When state officials made the announcement schools would be opening under Plan B, no date was given for when it might possibly end. We are preparing for long-term implementation of Plan B, but are hopeful that by following the simple practices of social distancing, wearing face coverings in public and practicing good hand hygiene – washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizer – the state may be able to transition into Plan A (full capacity with some restrictions) later in the school year. Similarly, if COVID conditions worsen, a transition into Plan C (fully remote learning) may be necessary.
The OCS Central Office has received a large volume of calls in the past couple of weeks. A team of several employees has been assigned to work on returning all phone messages and emails that have been received. Thank you for your patience as we continue to address the questions and concerns we have received from our community.
In the meantime, please browse school-level and district-level reopening information on the school and district websites for more on how schools will operate this year.
Device distribution plans will vary by school, as administrators organize plans that will best suit their individual schools' needs. If you have not yet received information regarding your child's laptop or device, please check your child's school website for distribution plans. If you have trouble finding distribution information online, please check with your child's school directly.
A cloth face covering is a material that covers the nose and mouth. It can be secured to the head with ties or straps or simply wrapped around the lower face. It can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton, silk, or linen. A cloth face covering may be factory-made or sewn by hand or can be improvised from household items such as scarfs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. Ideally, a face covering has two (2) or more layers. These face coverings are not intended for use by healthcare providers in the care of patients. Surgical Masks, Procedure Masks, and N95 respirators are not recommended for general public use or use in community settings, as these should be reserved for specific high-risk occupational settings, healthcare providers and other medical first responders in a healthcare setting. Medical-type masks, however, will be permitted for use by students if they prefer them.
During a normal year, the first weeks of school involve a focus on teaching students processes and procedures. Children are amazing learners and incredibly resilient! Our teachers and staff will be working with students to help them understand how to properly wear face coverings and getting them used to having them on during the day.
Students will be expected to wear face coverings for the majority of their time on campus. However, NCDHHS recommends schools build in time throughout the day when students, teachers and staff can take short breaks from wearing cloth face coverings during times and in settings where risk for transmission is lower. Schools have identified times when it would be appropriate for students to take a break from their face coverings, such as while eating, while outside, etc. Exact procedures and schedules for taking breaks from face coverings will vary by school and classroom.
Schools are planning on instruction to be provided by the same teacher(s) for both in-person and online instruction. In some cases, instruction may be split among multiple teachers, but they would most likely be teachers on the student’s instructional team.
While classroom management and instructional styles will vary by teacher and classroom, families can expect remote learning days to include opportunities that are synchronous and asynchronous, meaning students will have time to learn in real-time as their teachers give lessons on Microsoft Teams, as well as have time to work independently on assignments given by their teacher.
To see an example of how a teacher may choose to approach managing his or her in-person and remote students at the same time, please take a moment to watch this presentation from the OCS Digital Learning and Teaching Department at the August 11 Board of Education meeting: DLT Plan B Teaching Demonstration.
Healthy schools start at home!
As we prepare for the reopening of schools in August, the most important thing students, staff and families can do now to help stop the spread of COVID-19 is continue to follow everyday preventive actions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and the Onslow County Health Department (OCHD):
- Practice good hygiene.
- Wash hands or use hand sanitizer regularly.
- Stay away from those who are sick, and stay home if you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Use a face covering when appropriate.
Thank you for doing your part to keep our community healthy!
District and school staff will be working with parents and the school based IEP team on appropriate adjustments to best meet the needs of the students.
Schools will be providing meals for our students during the school year. NCDHHS guidelines do not prohibit schools from using cafeteria spaces, but, if used, they must practice the required six feet of social distancing. To help maintain physical distancing, we are planning for meals to be picked up by students in the cafeteria and then eaten in their classrooms. On remote days, schools will be able to provide meals to our students.
Funding for the curbside meal service has been extended through the end of August. A waiver has been submitted for school systems to offer this service longer but has not been approved at this time. If the waiver is not approved, schools will still be able to provide meals, but students would have to provide their student number to receive a meal. Families who do not receive free/reduced meals would be charged regular price. We are continuing to await word on the status of the waiver.
Carry-over status for meal benefits from the previous school year will expire on September 28. Please complete and submit your meal benefit application as soon as possible to prevent a lapse in benefits. **This year, students who are approved for reduced-priced meals through the meal benefit application process will receive both breakfast and lunch meals at NO COST as a result of additional state funding for the 2020-2021 school year.**
On days that they are on campus, meals will be available to students at their home schools. Curbside pickup will be available to students on their remote learning days Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at Student Nutrition Hubs from 8:45-10 a.m. Pick up will be from 8:45-11:45 a.m. on Wednesdays.
Student Nutrition Hub sites include:
-Clyde Erwin Elementary School
-Dixon Elementary School
-Hunters Creek Elementary School
-Jacksonville High School
-Northside High School
-Northwoods Elementary School
-Richlands Elementary School
-Southwest Elementary School
-Southwest High School
-Swansboro High School
Starting September 1, parents/guardians will need to show a student ID badge to pick up their students' meals. Money will not be accepted at the point of pick-up, so please plan to pre-pay on your student's account at K12paymentcenter.com.
NCDHHS has implemented procedures for how schools should respond in a variety of situations. These include teacher or staff member testing positive, student testing positive, or if the staff member or student is identified as a “close contact” of someone who has, or has tested positive for, COVID. We are working closely with the Onslow County Health Department on our processes and procedures and will be as flexible as possible with attendance policies.
With Plan B, facilities and transportation will be operating at reduced capacity. NCDHHS has been revising the guidelines for the number of students that can ride on a bus, so that will vary. We do know students will be required to wear face coverings while riding school transportation. Bus schedules will be determined based on cohort assignments.
NCDHHS guidelines ask schools to limit mixing between cohort groups as much as possible. While we are under Plan B, activities which would bring together large groups of students will not be recommended.
High school athletics will follow guidelines from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA). We are still evaluating when and how we would be able to resume middle school athletics.
At this time, there is not an option for families to enroll in OVS after the school year has started. Due to staffing requirements, class size restrictions and supply purchases, initial enrollment will be limited to those who registered by July 22.