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The Daily Planet’s Opinion: Time will tell wisdom of aggressive reopenings in fall by private schools
Saturday, 01 August 2020 14:32

Following the closure in March of schools in the state due the governor’s orders amid COVID-19 pandemic safety concerns, it will be interesting — after the upcoming school year is over — to compare the results between the more aggressive reopenings planned by North Carolina’s private schools versus the more cautious startups of the state’s public schools.

While there is no single approach that categorizes all private schools,  many are gearing up to welcome students and staff back into their buildings by requiring families to sign waivers, with school leaders saying families and staff are ready to re-enter classrooms.

While the state’s guidance for reopening public schools covers 141 pages, the Division of Non-Public Education’s website provided just one paragraph, which included the broad directive, “It is the discretion of each private school to decide how to proceed with instruction.”

 In at least some cases in private schools, neither teachers nor students will have to wear face coverings — and no virtual classes will be offered. However, the various private schools will, in many cases, take temperatures upon entrance, provisions will be taken to lessen cafeteria congestion — and weave social distancing and other precautions into their programs.

Last year, there were 750 private schools across North Carolina, serving 104,000 students. Around 70 percent were religiously affiliated. The N.C. Division of Non-Public Education oversees private schools, which are supported with tuition from students.

More than a few education leaders have said a central motivation for North Carolina’s school reopening decisions has been child care, with some parents questioning what they are going to do with a hybrid plan, where they send their child to school for one week out of three, while they must work every day. And that, in turn, is prompting at least some of them to consider transferring their children to private schools.



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