Local private schools to open with face-to-face instruction

Published 6:27 pm Friday, August 7, 2020

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While the four public school districts of the Roanoke-Chowan area have chosen to conduct the first part of the school year with virtual learning only, many local private schools are opting for face-to-face instruction when the new year begins in a few weeks.

Ridgecroft School, located outside of Ahoskie, announced they will have students back in the classroom again full-time when the school year kicks off, but will maintain several strict precautions to ensure the health and safety of students and faculty.

“This will not be school as usual. Our world has changed,” said Headmaster Russell Johnson in a recent video message to parents.

Johnson detailed health and safety protocols which will include daily sanitizing of facilities, daily health screenings and temperature checks, controlled class changes, and social distancing. Students will have to wear masks when changing classes.

“We want to be here. We want to have face-to-face instruction,” Johnson said, but emphasized that would only be possible with cooperation from everyone.

He also noted that frequently changing guidelines meant the reopening plan is subject to change depending on the situation. Information on athletics will be released later.

According to Ahoskie Christian School’s reopening plan, students will return for in-person classroom instruction with the goal of protecting the wellbeing of students and staff as well as providing a quality education.

Masks will not be required, but parents can send a mask with their student to wear if they so desire. Teachers will not be responsible for ensuring students wear their masks.

Temperature checks will be conducted each morning when students arrive at school. Those with a temperature of 99.5 degrees and higher will be sent home and will not be allowed to return to school until cleared by a doctor.

Other safety protocols will include students eating lunch in their classrooms, visitors being suspended for the first quarter, and chapel services being suspended for the first quarter. Additionally, no afterschool care will be available for the first part of the year except for children of essential workers on a case-by-case basis.

Ahoskie Christian School’s reopening plan is subject to change if necessary.

In Northampton County, Northeast Academy will begin the school year with full-time in-person learning. Several precautionary measures will be implemented to protect the health and safety of everyone.

Similar to other school plans, Northeast Academy will conduct health and temperature checks when students, staff, and visitors arrive on campus, and buildings will be cleaned each day using practices recommended by the CDC and the Northampton County Health Department.

Social distancing will also be maintained throughout the school day, and face masks are recommended when social distancing is not possible.

“Northeast Academy will have approximately 150 students and 25 staff members when we return to school,” said Principal Wanda Briggs-Trevino.

“Our reopening plan allows for social distancing in the classroom and throughout the building,” she continued. “We have changed our schedule to limit the number of students in the cafeteria, in the hallways, and on the playground while still providing a high quality instructional program.”

The school’s reopening plan also noted that they will follow guidelines from the NCISAA in regards to athletics.

Students and staff at Bethel Assembly Christian Academy in Bertie County will also return to the class for face-to-face learning this year. Masks will not be a requirement but students are allowed to wear them with parental permission.

The school will follow several methods to maintain the health and safety of everyone. Those procedures include daily temperature checks in the morning, frequent sanitization of all classrooms, social distancing whenever possible, and keeping students to a minimum in areas outside the classroom.

Additionally, students will eat in their classrooms this year instead of the cafeteria.

There is no decision yet about sports for the upcoming school year.

Lawrence Academy lists their first day of school as Aug. 19. No other details about the school’s reopening plans were released.

NC Governor Roy Cooper announced his decision on July 14 for how public schools will reopen. School districts across the state will operate under either Plan B (a mix of in-person and remote learning) or Plan C (all remote learning) depending on what works best for each district. In regards to private schools, he encouraged them to follow the same steps as local public school districts.

All of the public schools in the Roanoke-Chowan area opted for Plan C for the first nine weeks of the school year.