Local charter, private schools make reopening plans

Published 6:30 pm Thursday, July 23, 2020

SALISBURY – Several schools in Rowan County, charters and private, fall outside the purview of Rowan-Salisbury Schools and will begin classes this fall with their own plans.

North Hills Christian School will hold classes five days a week beginning Aug. 12. A letter addressed to the school’s families from Executive Director Maria Lowder described the situation as complicated and fluid.

“We are committed to safely reopening our school this fall,” the letter reads. “As we have considered our students’ mental, social and spiritual health during this time, we have concluded it is best to offer an in-person classroom setting for our students five days a week.”

The school will require face coverings when transitioning between classes, entering or exiting the buildings. It will also monitor temperatures of students and staff before they enter the building. Visitors will be limited, and the school will have a quarantine room where it can isolate anyone with symptoms before they can be taken home. There will be no field trips or mass gatherings until it is deemed safe, but the Christian institution will still hold chapel sessions that are small in size. There will be enhanced cleaning and classroom sanitation during class changes.

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx, an East Spencer charter school, will be returning to classes with a blended model that will bring in students in two groups, two days a week. Monday will be a virtual learning only day and classes will begin Aug. 17, the same day as RSS.

Essie Mae will adhere to state standards for social distancing, screening and prevention measures. The school will undergo additional cleaning as well.

Salisbury Academy, a private school, will return students to campus five days a week, but will stagger return dates to adapt to new routines on campus. Middle school students will return first for a half day on Tuesday, Aug. 11, followed by a half day for the school’s junior kindergarten, kindergarten and lower grades, and half days for all students on the last two days of the week.

At Salisbury Academy, there will be daily screenings, social distancing, limited visitors and required face coverings. There will be more daytime custodial staff for enhanced cleaning throughout the day. Students and staff will also be taught proper hygiene practices. There will be signage about hygiene posted around campus as well.

Sacred Heart Catholic School will return to in-person instruction five days a week as well. Sacred Heart Marketing Director Robin Fisher said class size will be reduced to the point where it meets the state’s plan B requirement for public schools despite being a private institution. The school will adhere to social distancing guidelines.

At Sacred Heart specials classes like art will come to classes instead of students traveling to common classrooms. There will be health screenings, a mask requirement, social distancing and sanitation supplies throughout the school.

“The teachers are our moving bodies,” Fisher said, adding the school will be using its outdoor areas on its 100-acre campus.

Gray Stone Day School, a charter school in Misenheimer, plans to begin classes remotely. A message from the school said it anticipates following the schedule through the first quarter before “reevaluating.”

The school plans to continue providing on-campus support for students, including bringing students on campus in small groups. Visitors will be limited and everyone who enters the buildings will be screened. Everyone on campus will be required to wear a face covering, adhere to social distancing and regularly sanitize their hands.

Rockwell Christian School will return to full-time instruction in person on Sept. 8. The start date was moved to September so the school can implement new safety protocols and the school cancelled fall break due to the delayed start.

Did we miss your school? Email carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com with information about your school’s reopening and we will publish it in an upcoming edition.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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