The Nash County Board of Education voted on a plan for the start of school Wednesday night at a special called meeting.
The meeting came after The Graphic's press deadline but Superintendent Dr. Steve Ellis spoke to The Graphic prior to the meeting about the recommendation he planned to make to the Board of Education.
A story with more information on the final decision and vote can be viewed on The Graphic's website at www.nashvillegraphic.com.
Ellis said a lot of work had been put into developing the three plans required by Governor Roy Cooper. A committee was put together that included community partners, board members and parents and surveys were sent out for both parents and teachers.
Based on the information gathered, Ellis said he will be recommending the school district start school with Plan C and slowly merge into Plan B.
"I don't think we can rush back in," he said. "I think it would have to be a phase in."
Plan C is for all remote instruction.
Ellis said remote instruction would continue for at least four to five weeks before merging into Plan B. Metrics would guide the merger into in-person learning.
Under the Plan B presented earlier this month, schools would open to no more than 50 percent of students and all of staff in the building for instruction. A cohort of students would attend school face to face Monday through Thursday during weeks one, three and five while the second cohort worked remotely. The second cohort of students would then attend onsite during weeks two, four and six while cohort one works remotely during this time.
Ellis said the Virtual Academy would still be an option and added that so far, 2,300 students have requested the Virtual Academy.
Ellis said the toughest part is getting the teachers back in the building so they feel comfortable. In surveys, Ellis said half of those teachers that responded said they were comfortable coming back under Plan B while 80 percent said they were comfortable going back under Plan C.
Ellis said the school system is working on options to provide internet access, including hotspots in schools and working with community partners for internet cafes so students have access.
While Ellis said he knows the situation is not ideal, the most important factor is the safety of the students and staff.
"I think that the board has been very acceptive of anything right now," Ellis said. "They know teachers are concerned, parents are concerned. The biggest issue is safety."
Ellis said if the metrics don't improve, the district could stay in Plan C longer.
Ellis noted that it would take a while for everyone to get adjusted to what may be the new normal in schools.
"It takes a while to get acclimated to some of these processes and procedures we've never done before," he said. "It's going to take a while for teachers to wrap their minds around it."
"(But) we're gonna make it through," Ellis added. "We're gonna be a better district for it."