COVID-19 Safety Precautions at Lenoir County Public Schools

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect that a vote could take place on Monday.

The vote could take place Monday evening to determine what COVID-19 safety measures will be in place at public schools in Lenoir County for the 2021-2022 school year.

Patrick Holmes, public information officer at Lenoir County Public Schools, said nothing was in place yet as it will depend on the decision taken at the 6 p.m. meeting in the Board building. of Education, 2017 W. Vernon Ave. The agenda for the meeting is not yet available.

“There’s a lot to discuss besides how we’re going to deal with masks or distance learning, that sort of thing,” Holmes said.

He responded by email, stating, “Regarding the Monday night school board meeting, the face covering issue is not an action item on the agenda, but the school board will hear. a presentation from district administrators on plans to open schools and it’s probably a decision on masks will come out of this discussion. “

He said the school system has a new partnership with Lenoir County Community College, and that will be discussed as well.

Brent Williams, the superintendent of public schools in Lenoir County, was out of the office and was not available for comment. He will be back next week.

Holmes said he did not plan for a confrontation at the meeting over masks, schedules or distance learning, which has happened at other county school board meetings.

“We have pretty reasonable people. We haven’t seen that,” Holmes said. “In other places there was a sort of meeting preparation; we didn’t see that. We were able to accommodate comments from the public in person or virtually wherever we took comments. written. At this meeting, we expect people to show up for comment in one way or another, and as long as they play by the rules and limit their comments to three minutes. “

He said the council will make decisions based on public health data and other circumstances.

Holmes said many of the decisions are based on suggestions and advice rather than mandates from the CDC. Some school systems make masks mandatory for Kindergarten to Grade 12, others for Kindergarten to Grade 8, some optional for high school, and others optional for everyone.

Holmes did not say whether the masks would be mandatory. He said the CDC may have more ideas on where to go with masks and other safety concerns.

No official announcements have been made regarding wearing masks or distance learning, according to Holmes.

“We have seven school board members; they all have their own take on this thing. They will have access to the public health data that we all have in Lenoir County, and cases appear to be on the rise. Vaccination rates are sort of stuck at 47% or 48% for those 18 and over and much less than for the 12 to 17 age group, ”Holmes said.

He said the goal of Lenoir County Public Schools is to have students in class five days a week for face-to-face instruction.

He said that last year the school system was extremely successful in keeping COVID-19 out of the school system.

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Susan W. Lloyd

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