Wilkes County’s elementary schools will transition from operating under Plan B (partly learning remotely and partly in classrooms with teachers) to Plan A (entirely in classrooms with teachers) when the second grading period begins Tuesday, Oct. 20, announced Wilkes School Superintendent Mark Byrd late Thursday afternoon.

“While we would have liked to have started Plan A earlier, this date is necessary to allow us to best serve your child,” said Byrd in a statement to parents. Elementary schools consist of grades K-5.

Many other school districts across the state, including some of the largest, have also announced that their elementary schools will also transition Plan A on Oct. 20.

He said parents should contact the schools their children attend by Friday, Oct. 2, to state whether they plan to have their children in Plan C (all remote learning) or Plan A.

“Those who choose to utilize remote learning are committing to doing so through the end of the second grading period, which ends Jan. 14, 2021,” said Byrd. The grading periods are about nine weeks long.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Sept. 17 that North Carolina’s public school districts and charter schools can implement Plan A in elementary schools starting Oct. 5. Masks are mandatory for all students, teachers and staff under Plan A, as well as social distancing, health screening (including daily temperature checks) and other safety measures.

The Wilkes schools started the year on Aug. 17 with all students in Plan C, but switched to Plan B on Sept. 8. Plan B limits schools to operating at 50% of student capacity. There is no such limit under Plan A.

In the Wilkes School District’s version of Plan B, students in each school who didn’t opt for full-time learning the first nine weeks of school were split into two groups. Both groups alternate between remote learning and in-person learning each day but never the same on the same day.

Wilkes middle schools (grades six to eight) and high schools (grades nine to 12) are continuing with Plan B in the second grading period, which requires masks for teachers, students and staff, social distancing, health screenings and other precautions.

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