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Questions Asked of BCS by Cara Beth Lewis of Bladenonline

Posted on 08/30/2021

Question received from Cara Beth Lewis, of Bladenonline:
 
We received a private message from a parent of Bladen County Schools, asking us to share the link to a petition she created online. This is for BCS to offer online learning for students. Does Bladen County even have the option to consider this? My understanding was that the governor mandated in-person school only, however, I am not sure... which is why I am reaching out to you. I will paste the description of her petition below.
 
Petition message:

"With COVID-19 numbers increasing, we should not mandate students to return to school for in class instruction with out offering online options. We must continue to keep our kids safe with more than a mask. Online instruction is is a great alternative accommodating all children’s learning styles. 

This virus is forcing us to make sacrifices, but for the greater good, the option of school districts offering online learning should be a choice for our students. When will the students in Bladen County be heard?  Educators, you now are responsible for the health of our children. 

Its time to push for optional online learning and not just in person for all students.

With the advancements of technology apps, teachers have the power to create, engage, and inform in many different ways to accommodate all learners.  We need to use these tools available to us especially during these dangerous times.  

Schools may lose funding, or state test scores may drop, but those can be replaced. Our children’s safety and health should be first."

Bladen County Schools response:

Miss Lewis,

In response to your email, we are providing the following information.

The Governor, along with NCDHHS have provided guidance that public schools operate with all students back in the classroom for in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. Public schools are required to follow the guidance provided in the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit. The Toolkit is aligned with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidance, which urges that everything possible be done to keep students in schools and emphasizes continued masking. The Toolkit also updates additional measures for schools related to quarantining after COVID exposure, physical distancing, testing, transportation, cleaning and other considerations.

A public school district shall have the authority to make day-to-day decisions for the 2021-22 school year concerning whether shifting individual schools or individual classrooms that are providing in-person instruction to temporary remote instruction is necessary due to COVID-19 exposures that result in insufficient school personnel or required student quarantines.

Current legislation contains a provision of remote instruction for students with disabilities in a manner consistent with each student's individualized education program (IEP), as defined in G.S. 115C-106.3, or section 504 (29 U.S.C. § 794) plan, including homebound students. Remote instruction support shall be considered and included, as appropriate for the student, when an IEP or 504 plan is initially developed or at any subsequent review or revision of an IEP or 504 plan.