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OCS Supports In-Person and Remote Options and Local Decision Making

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Orange County School (OCS) has received the Governor’s message today, and are currently monitoring legislation in the state Senate that seeks to mandate specific reopening plans and timelines for all public schools in North Carolina. Our Board of Education is moving forward with its current reopening plans, but is prepared to schedule special meetings as necessary to comply with any legislative mandate. Our top priorities remain the safety of our students and staff, and providing high-quality educational services to all students.  Orange County students have had opportunities to return to in-person instruction since October 27 when our separate settings exceptional children and preschool students returned in addition to small groups of students at all grade levels. On January 25, 2021, OCS kindergarten and first grade students opting for in-person instruction also returned.

At the Board of Education’s January 11 meeting, the Board approved the return of students in second through twelfth grades in the fourth quarter on April 6.  In addition, schools are developing plans to offer opportunities for students in grades 2-12 opting for Plan B: Hybrid (in-person and remote) to come back to school for in-person learning via extended orientations and small group instruction starting in February and throughout the third quarter.  

Orange County Schools, with the guidance of the Board of Education have worked tirelessly to implement safety protocols that would safely allow for the return of small groups of students and staff.  We know that for the majority of our students, in-person instruction is best.  At the same time, we also recognize that some of our students are excelling in remote instruction and we have families who prefer remote learning for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.  For this reason, OCS continues to offer a fully remote learning opportunity to all families and will do so in 2021-2022.

We appreciate Governor Cooper’s support of local control as we make the recommendations and decisions to best support our students, families, and staff as we continue to provide in-person and fully remote options to all of our students.  Should future state legislation mandate a different expectation, then the Orange County Board of Education will meet and adhere to those guidelines. 

The OCS Board of Education will continue to use the latest developments in science and medicine to reopen schools in the safest manner possible and guide our future decisions as more students and staff return to our school buildings.