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Board Meeting Update - September 28

The intent of this publication is to provide OCS staff, families, and the community an update on the highlights from OCS Board of Education’s monthly meetings and work sessions. This update is not the official minutes of the board meeting. The official minutes and policies are located at “Board” which can be accessed on Orange County Schools’ website at <link here>.

<Link to Board of Education Work Session September 28 VIDEO>

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education unanimously approved the consent agenda items, which included: minutes from the September 14, 2020 Special Called Meeting; the personnel report and recommendations; gifts and bequests; and the Code of Conduct Letter.

Consideration for Opening Schools for Hybrid (In-person and Remote Learning) Under Plan B

With a preface on the details for the evening from Dr. Monique Felder, Superintendent, the Board heard a series of presentations from a variety of sources, pertaining to COVID-19 and possible re-entry. As the end of the first nine weeks approaches, the Board must weigh a decision on whether to return, in part, to in-person learning for students and staff moving forward.

The ABC Science Collaborative

Orange County Schools is proud to partner with the ABC Science Collaborative to keep abreast of the latest research on COVID-19 and how it is affecting public schools in North Carolina that are open, or partially open, for students and staff.

Research-based evidence by the Collaborative has shown that adherence to wearing masks, social distancing and regular hand hygiene helps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 among populations of children in a variety of settings, including schools. During the presentation, common questions were addressed, such as the handling of school lunch, the need (or lack thereof) for N-95 masks, and students and staff who need accommodations, due to special needs. Topics such as ventilation and early mistakes made by other school districts, which lead to clusters in the school setting.

Here, we invite you to take a look at the slide deck from expert, and lead pediatric doctor at Duke University Hospital, Dr. Danny Benjamin’s presentation:

For more information about the ABC Collaborative, click here:

Data from Staff and Family Surveys

Public Information and Community Engagement Officer Melany Stowe shared data and other highlights from the staff and family surveys on their respective readiness to come back to work/school. The Board was given full access to the data, and will take all numbers, percentages and comments into consideration. Opportunities to complete the staff and family surveys are ongoing, as we hope to hear from everyone who either works for or attends school in OCS. Staff surveys went out via email. Parents may click here if they have not yet responded:

Update from the Metrics Monitoring Task Force

The Metrics Monitoring Task Force presented on the four metrics the district is looking at to gauge the impact of COVID-19 in Orange County. Currently, Orange County is experiencing fewer cases and is trending low. Health experts from the Orange County Health Department, as well as others on the Task Force, agree that these low trends need to continue. Jason Johnson, title, presented a recommendation from the group that OCS should not move into Plan B at this time, out of the concern for the safety and welfare of the students and families we serve.

The Plan B Readiness Matrix

Dr. Kathleen Dawson, deputy superintendent, presented the Plan B Readiness Matrix. This matrix is a snapshot from each department of tasks and needs that must be met prior to the reopening of schools, along with the status of completion for each. The Plan B Readiness Matrix presented was at the district level; Board members requested that a similar matrix also be used for each school prior to re-entry.

Approval of the FY2021 Budget

The Board unanimously approved the year’s budget with the understanding that amendments may be necessary should the schools reopen and priorities shift. The FY2021 budget numbers and amounts were based upon operating under Plan C, which is 100% remote learning, or completely online instruction.