RSS administration will recommend plan A for middle, high school

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 21, 2021

SALISBURY — Rowan-Salisbury Schools Superintendent Tony Watlington on Monday is set to recommend to the school board middle and high school students return to classrooms four days per week.

The district is already planning to bring K-5 students back four days beginning March 29. Watlington will advise the board to do the same for the rest of students beginning April 8.

New legislation signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on March 10 allows the district to send all public school students back full time, and it requires elementary students attend at least four days per week.

The change will preserve the virtual Wednesday for all students, but there will no longer be two cohorts of students who only attend two days per week. The district is required to continue offering an online option for students, and Watlington’s recommendation includes holding students to the one-year virtual commitment put in place when the district began the school year in August.

In a letter to the Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education the recommendation is framed as, “to mitigate continued learning loss, to provide students with additional face-to-face instruction and to reduce class and course failure rates.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to wane and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now suggests 3 feet of social distancing as adequate for K-12 environments when other precautions such as masks and frequent hand sanitation are in place. The new state legislation that allows Rowan-Salisbury’s return is the result of a bipartisan vote in the state House and Senate.

Nearby Kannapolis City Schools is also planning an April return for all of its students four days per week starting April 12.

The meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Monday. The board is transitioning back to in-person meetings. There is limited capacity and you can register for a seat via the district website. The meeting will also be live streamed here: vimeo.com/rssboe

In other agenda items for Monday’s meeting:

• Associate Superintendent of Operations Anthony Vann present options for the ongoing disposal process of the Faith Elementary School property. The board has a $100,000 offer on the property from Faith Academy Charter school.

• Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Jason Gardner will present an update on the district’s Exceptional Children programming for the coming year, including the different specialized programs within the district’s EC offerings.

• Associate Superintendent Kelly Withers will present the district’s regular COVID-19 update.