All in-person KCS students to attend four days starting April 12

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2021

KANNAPOLIS — Students in Kannapolis City Schools will be back in classrooms four days a week after they return from spring break.

The first in-person day of instruction on the new schedule will be April 12. 

The KCS board in a meeting on Tuesday also discussed returning for five days in person, but members reached a consensus they would be more comfortable with four days. Several members said one virtual day per week on Fridays still needs to be an enrichment day for students.

The change will comply with state legislation signed last week that required schools return K-5 students to classrooms full time and middle and high school students part time while still providing an all-virtual option for families.

KCS students were already attending classes two days per week split into two cohorts after a February decision to return students from all-virtual learning.

The board approved a recommendation ahead of winter break to begin this semester all-virtual amid massive increases in COVID-19 positivity cases and during a period when schools were struggling to keep schools staffed properly. That decision closed facilities until Jan. 15, but the board extended it until Feb. 15 on Superintendent Chip Buckwell’s recommendation amid what was, at that point, still rapid spread of the disease.

KCS previously had K-5 students attending school five day per week beginning in November after Gov. Roy Cooper lessened restrictions the previous month. When elementary kids returned to classrooms in February, they were back in the blended model.

At the time, Buckwell recommended returning all students to the blended model and sticking with it until the end of the school year to avoid further transition, but the new legislation required the district to at least send elementary students more days.

Buckwell said virtual students will be given the option to switch to virtual, or vice versa. Students attending in person are expected to have the same teachers, but virtual kids returning to schools may have different teachers.

The required social distancing goes away in plan A, or full time instruction.

“But I think that’s still important, and I think everyone probably still does,” KCS Board Chair Todd Adams said, adding he is sure faculty are looking at available space in buildings and wants the schools to use spaces to spread out as much as possible.

Other restrictions, including mask wearing, are still required by the state.