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All Caldwell County students will be learning in-person soon, but only four days per week. Here's why

District leaders say one day per week will be reserved as a virtual day, but all students will be back on campus
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CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. — Caldwell County Schools says all students will soon be back in the classroom, but one day in the week will still be set aside for remote learning.

In a news release Friday, the district announced the Board of Education voted to return all students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade back to classes on campus on a modified Plan A schedule starting April 12. Wednesdays will be reserved as a Remote Learning Day, meaning students will be in class four days per week. Designating Wednesdays as a remote day serves multiple purposes; the district says this will allow for teacher planning, thorough cleaning of facilities, and distribution of free meals to students under age 18 at Hibriten High School, South Caldwell High School, and West Caldwell High School from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. and from 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. those days. So far, the district says almost 12 million meals have been distributed since school closures in March 2020.

“There’s not been a decision made this school year by Board members and administration that hasn’t been painstakingly thought through,” said superintendent Don Phipps in a statement. “We have collaborated with medical officials daily and consistently sought input from parents and community leaders when making decisions, and we know that everyone will not be in agreement; however, it is our responsibility to do what is best for all students and their social/emotional and academic needs."

Middle and high school students are currently learning under North Carolina's Plan B, a hybrid model of in-person learning two days per week and remote learning under an AA/BB model. However, Plan B required six feet of social distancing, which prevented all students from coming back to class on a daily basis.

“With the recent legislation to reopen schools and new guidance from the Governor’s office, this stipulation for middle and high school students to social distance has been relaxed, which opens the door for all students to return to face-to-face instruction,” Phipps said.

The district notes students enrolled in the Caldwell Connect virtual learning format will remain on the virtual track through the end of the year.

The board has designated March 31 and April 1 as workdays for middle and high school faculty and staff to help in transitioning campuses to Plan A. Schools will update master schedules and return classroom furniture. Students on the AA schedule will attend school on Monday, March 29, while students on the BB schedule will attend class on Tuesday, March 30. This is the week prior to Spring Break.

For elementary schools, Wednesday, March 31 is still a Remote Learning Day. April 1 will also be a workday for all faculty and staff to ensure everyone is prepared for the transition. The Pre-K program will continue its regular schedule without interruption.

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