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Lincoln Herald | Lincolnton, NC

home : community : community September 19, 2020

7/30/2020 8:01:00 PM
Getting Ready For Back-To-School In Lincoln County

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

"Lincoln County Schools is working diligently to prepare to reopen school for students on August 17, 2020.  We recognize there are many questions about the reopening of school and the impact of COVID-19.  In an effort to provide clear communications, our staff have created the Reopening of Schools FAQ document.  This document will be updated for parents and the community as we receive additional guidance from DPIDHHS, CDC, and our local LC Health Department.  Reopening information can be found at  Thank you for your continued trust in and support of LCS." ---Supt. Dr. Lory Morrow

The COVID-19 pandemic continues, but it's back-to-school time, and Lincoln County Schools are busy getting ready for students who will be involved in classroom and remote learning to begin the school year on August 17th--just over two weeks away.  Most of the questions students and parents may have can be answered by information on the Lincoln County Schools website, but to help, the administration has released the following FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):


What about EOGs/EOCs this year?

  • Currently EOG’s and EOC’s are scheduled for the last 10 days of the school year.  There is some conversation at the state level about a waiver, but no decision yet.


Will there be athletics in the fall?

  • We will be in “Phase 2” per the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) guidelines beginning August 3, 2020.
  • Currently our high school athletes are conditioning up to 90 minutes a day, four days a week.
  • Our middle schools currently have the same option as the high schools.
  • Additional guidance will be forthcoming from the NCHSAA regarding the start of the Fall sports season.


How will attendance work with an A-B day schedule?  How about online only?

  • Student attendance will be taken every day during the 2020-2021 school year.
  • In order to be considered in attendance, a student must be present on-site for the school day or at a place other than on-site, remote learning, with the approval of the appropriate school official for the purpose of attending an authorized school activity.  Requirements for student attendance for remote instructional days will be in accordance with the public school unit’s remote instruction plan.  Please refer to Board Policy 4400 Attendance for information concerning excused absences, excuse notes, or excessive absences.


How is lunch and breakfast going to be handled during Plan B?

  • Breakfast (all grade levels):  Child Nutrition (CN) staff will set up breakfast tables/carts at a central location/entrance and provide students with a pre-boxed breakfast as they arrive.
  • Lunches will be pre-boxed with all components (entrée, vegetables, fruit, utensils, and condiments).  Each box will contain the same vegetable and fruit options but students will be able to make their choice of entrees.
  • All meals will include milk.
  • Lunch (Elementary):  CN staff will deliver meals on carts to classrooms and provide the appropriate number of meals for the class.  The Teacher or Teacher Assistant will distribute the meals to the students in their classroom. 
  • Lunch (Middle Schools):  CN staff will set up carts/tables in the dining room for students to come by and select the boxed meal of their choice while maintaining social distancing.
  • Lunch (High Schools):  CN staff will set up carts/tables in hallways or common areas for students to come by during their designated lunch period and select the boxed meal of their choice while maintaining social distancing.
  • Student meal accountability:  Currently operating under a federal waiver, we will not need to know student names but will keep a count of meals distributed.  If the waiver is not extended past August 31, 2020, we will be required to account for which students are receiving meals and will address that as needed.

Will lunch be provided to families that choose the remote only option?

  • Lincoln County Schools (LCS) is currently operating under a federal waiver that will allow us to feed all children on and off campus at no charge until August 31, 2020.  We are waiting to hear from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as to whether or not these waivers will be extended.  Our current plan is to offer on-site meals to students on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  On Wednesdays, we will offer our Grab and Go program at all sites and will provide a 5-day supply of breakfast and lunches. 


What are the options for childcare on non face-to-face days?

  • LCS has partnered with the YMCA of Lincoln County to offer Before and After School care.  Full day childcare for school age children will also be offered at the Sally’s Y-Denver, Lincoln County YMCA, and Union Elementary School.  Details have been shared on social media about this opportunity for our community.


What is the plan for cleaning the school, classrooms, and bus?

  • The school custodial staff will work in conjunction with the school administration to have touch point cleaning multiple times during the school day when students are not in specific areas.  Schools will be deep cleaned on Wednesdays.  Teachers will clean classroom touch points during planning and after school each day.  Bus Drivers will clean bus touch points after the morning and afternoon student routes are completed.


Will students and staff be required to wear masks continually, even if social distancing is possible within the classroom or school?

  • Based on guidance from the NCDHHS and Governor’s office, schools must ensure that all K-12 students and all teachers, staff, and adult visitors, wear face cloth coverings regardless of their location on campus, unless the person (or family member, for a student) states and has documentation that an exception applies, is eating, or is engaged in strenuous physical activity.  Cloth face coverings must be worn by all K-12 grade students and all teachers, staff and adult visitors on buses or other school transportation vehicles, inside school buildings, and anywhere on school grounds, including outdoors.  Short breaks from wearing face cloth coverings will take place during the school day while students are stationary and 6 feet apart.  This guidance was updated by the State on July 24, 2020.


Will accommodations for parents wanting to switch days from the designated days of Monday A-D, Tuesday E-K, Thursday L-Q, and Friday R-Z be granted?

  • This is a school based management issue and can be reviewed based on data related to transportation numbers, classroom capacity, special programming that may need to be considered, and if there are siblings involved.  Principals will examine each case individually and make the best decision for the school and family based on their needs and concerns.
  • If a student has siblings at other schools, parents will need to make the request to all schools involved and those schools impacted will best determine day(s) of the week based on K-3 class size, transportation seating capacity, programmatic and staffing availability limitations. 


What are our plans for families without the internet or a “good” connection?  Is the school Wi-Fi still their only option?

  • School and public Wi-Fi are the best options for providing Internet access outside of school. 
  • We will be providing additional information regarding offline usage options for devices as it becomes available.  Google has enabled offline use for a large number of their Chromebook software programs.  The following is a summary of some of the options:

Special Note- We have enabled all of the offline features in the article from a Google Admin perspective.  You just need to use them in your account.

Special Note- This article indicated a large number of offline Google Apps for Chrome.  We tested this in the store and selected the “runs offline” search option to discover several apps that will work offline.


What are the remote and virtual classroom options for students?

  • Elementary Schools will use Google Classroom, Middle Schools will use Google Classroom and Canvas based upon the grade level and course, and High Schools will use Canvas to present information in a remote setting.
  • All students will have access to a Google Classroom or Canvas platform in K-12.
  • Many assignments in K-2 may be more appropriate hands on, manipulative based, paper/pencil, etc.  In this case, Google Classroom can include the following:
  1. Review videos that families can access to help with hands on activities
  2. Daily Task Lists
  3. Learning Targets
  4.  Links to resources like Lexia Core5, Raz-Kids, Read Alouds, etc.
  • Assignments can be provided digitally to families that have a device to use at home.


Open House can occur throughout the week of August 10-14, 2020.

Virtual Open House sessions should be scheduled through a remote meeting platform (ex: Google Meet, Zoom, etc.) for parents to meet the teacher and to share the following information:
  • Classroom tour
  • Classroom/remote learning expectations
  • Contact Information
  • Parent/teacher communication processes
  • Grading procedures
  • Any back to school information pertinent to that grade level
  • Virtual sessions could be individual or group.  These sessions should be scheduled at a variety of times to meet the needs of families
Schools will be sharing specific information to families regarding:
  • School Tour
  • Transportation
  • Child Nutrition Updates
  • Device Check-out Procedures
Face to face meetings with parents can occur by appointment for students with specific needs (ex: new to school, IEP, 504, behavior needs, medical needs, etc.).  Screenings and masks are required upon entering the building for all visitors.


Will Chromebooks be available on a student's first day for students in grades 3-12?

  • We are still waiting on exact delivery dates from the manufacturer.  Unfortunately, they are experiencing delays in manufacturing due to the large volume of orders placed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and problems with COVID-related supply chain issues.  We have been given a window of possible delivery between August 3, 2020 to September 30, 2020.   We will update everyone as soon as we have a more definite date.
  • Once the devices arrive at LCS Technology Services, our staff will distribute them as soon as possible. 

Some parents are wondering what remote-only will look like every day?

  • The remote only option will teach the same standards and content that is being delivered in a face-to-face setting.  However, the format and delivery of content will be dependent upon the individual teacher delivering the instruction.  It will be delivered both synchronously and asynchronously. 

Parents that are wanting their Kindergarten students to do all virtual learning have asked if they will be required to meet face-to-face for a screening the first week?

  • Screening can be administered by appointment during the first two weeks of school.  Wednesdays may be a good day to accomplish this task.

What are the minimum requirements for digital devices?

Digital devices that do not meet the following requirements will not support the software used by LCS students.

  • All Devices:

Screen Size and Resolution:  14” and 1024x768
Keyboard:  Required
Wi-Fi:  802.11N Support

  • Chromebook:

Processor- AMD A4-9120C or Equivalent
Hard Drive- 32GB

  • Windows:

Processor- Intel i5 or Equivalent
Hard Drive- 240GB
Windows 10

  • Mac/Apple

Processor- Intel i5 or Equivalent
Hard Drive- 256GB


What are the guidelines for a student or staff member to return to school once out for sickness?

  • LCS is following the guidelines set forth from NCDHHS in regards to parameters for students and staff to return to school from being out with any illness related issue.


Should backpacks be kept in the classroom or can they use hooks outside of their room?

  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) requirements state to keep students’ personal items separate from others and individually labeled in cubbies, containers, or lockers.  This means to keep book bags in a separate space from the learning area.

School visitors and classroom furniture?

  • Schools will arrange furniture or block off seats, such as desks, chairs, or other seating in classrooms, break rooms, reception areas, and cafeterias, so that students, teachers, staff, and visitors are separated from one another by at least 6 feet.
  • LCS has purchased plexiglass sneeze guards and partitions for school use in high traffic areas that cannot be socially distanced.  It is REQUIRED to be used in the front office area as a priority.

Hand sanitizer expectations?

  • LCS will provide hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) at every building entrance and exit, in the cafeteria, and in every classroom for safe use by staff and older students.  Each bus will have a supply as well to use as students enter and exit the bus after each route.


What are the expectations for elective classes and remote learning/hybrid options?

  • Elective classes will be available face-to-face on the days that students are on campus.  On remote days, elective teachers would provide a choice board, task list, or menu of activities for students to complete.  These activities will be aligned with the same standards presented face-to-face. 
  • Principals will work with special area teachers to create a schedule that allows students access to art/music/PE during each grading period at the Elementary level.  Students may not have each class each week, but should have each class several times in a grading period.
  • Middle and High School students will follow their normal daily schedule by period.


Will students be required to wear a face covering while riding the school bus?

  • YES… evidence continues to show that wearing a cloth face covering is the most critical tool we have in our arsenal to protect against the spread of COVID-19.  The NCDHHS has now updated the state’s public health guidance for K-12 schools to include that all K-12 grade students, teachers, staff, and adult visitors wear cloth face coverings.  Face coverings must be worn by K-12 students, and all teachers, staff, and adult visitors inside school buildings and anywhere on school grounds, including outdoors.  Short breaks from wearing cloth face coverings can be taken throughout the day when children or staff are 6 feet apart and stationary.  Face coverings will also be required while traveling on buses or other school transportation vehicles.
  • As recommended by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, bus windows will be left down while on route to increase the circulation of fresh air.

Will buses be limited to the number of passengers that can be transported?

  • YES... buses will be limited to 22 or 24 passengers, this is determined by the size of the bus.  This is the equivalent to one student per seat.  Siblings and students residing in the same home will be allowed to share one seat.
  • Students will only be allowed to ride their assigned bus and will not be able to ride home with other students unless they are assigned to the same bus route.

How often will buses be cleaned?

  • Buses will be sanitized twice a day, at the end of the morning route and afternoon route.  Staff will be using a sanitizer approved and registered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Will students be health screened and temperature checked at the bus stop?

  • NO… temperature checks and other COVID-19 related health screening will take place at the school.  However, parents and students using transportation service will be required to sign a “Parent Acknowledgment and Attestation Form.”  This form attests that parents are health screening and temperature checking their child each day before sending them to a bus stop, school facility, or school related events.
  • If a bus rider becomes sick during the school day, they will not be allowed to access school bus transportation home in the afternoon.

Will hand sanitizer be offered to students on school buses?

  • YES… hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) will be located at the entrance of the school bus directly beside the handrail.  It can be used by both students and staff as they enter and exit the school bus each day.

With buses not operating at full capacity will this make routes longer?

  • YES... with the capacity of buses being 22 to 24 students, the routes will be longer.  We will be required to run double runs to get all students home using school bus transportation.

Please note, this information is fluid and may change based on the most recent guidance from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and/or the Lincoln County Health Department. The information provided here is accurate as of July 31, 2020.

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