CJ: School reopening plans raise questions of feasibility

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services this week released a guidance plan for reopening schools amid the manufactured revival in coronavirus fears. At 120 pages, the plan actually creates more confusion than anything else, and inquiring minds want to know how any of it is actually feasible.

Lindsay Marchello of the Carolina Journal takes a dive into this “head-scratcher” of a plan, and why one of her colleagues calls the guidelines “comically impractical.”

From Carolina Journal:

“People are scratching their heads over the state’s health guidance about how schools can safely reopen. 

The upcoming school year won’t be normal, and COVID-19 is to blame, state officials have said. Schools will have to balance teaching students with curbing the spread of the virus. To prepare for the 2020-21 school year, state agencies have shared the safety precautions school districts must take to protect students and staff. 

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Monday, June 8, published the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12). The Department for Public Instruction on  Thursday talked about how schools could operate under the various health plans.

The bulky plan consists of more than 120 pages of complex rules and guidelines, all of which are probably impossible to enact. Terry Stoops calls them comically impractical.

“Imagine the process of screening the 3,500 students that attend Myers Park High School in Mecklenburg County every school day, while cleaning and sanitizing the thermometer ‘using manufacturer’s instructions between each use’,” said Stoops, vice president of research and director of education studies at the John Locke Foundation.

“Teachers will spend more time on surveillance and sanitation than instruction under these requirements.”

All 115 N.C. school districts must create three plans using COVID-19 metrics. Plan A is the least restrictive, requiring minimal social distancing of students and staff. Plan B requires more stringent social distancing and fewer people in the school building. Under Plan C, schools would use only remote learning.

“We will only implement Plans A or B to reopen schools as a state if we are ready. If our metrics change, our plan will change,” Kelly Haight Conner, health department communications, says in an email to Carolina Journal.

State officials will decide by July 1, using COVID-19 data, which plan schools must follow. School districts can decide to employ tighter limits than the state mandates, but they can’t [CONTINUE READING]

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