Bill Fletcher: A Safe Return to Wake County Schools

Cary, NC — In a newsletter dated October 20, 2020, Wake County Board of Education member Bill Fletcher said, “On March 15, everything changed!  On October 26, things change again!”

The date references the start of the gradual reopening plan approved by the school board in late September. The approved plan is:

  • Beginning Oct. 26, 2020: Grades PreK-3 incorporate in-person learning on a three-week rotation (students learn two weeks online and one week in person).
  • Beginning Nov. 9, 2020: Grades 6-8 incorporate in-person learning in three week rotation.
  • Beginning Nov. 16, 2020: Grades 4-5 would incorporate in-person learning in three-week rotation.
  • By Nov. 16, 2020: Elementary and K-12 special education programs could begin full-time, in-person classes.
  • Grades 9-12 will remain in remote learning for the fall semester

The following is the latest newsletter, written by board member, Bill Fletcher.

What Starts Here Changes Everything

Bill Fletcher, member of the Wake County School Board.

I am sure you know that there is a wide diversity of thought about the pandemic and how schools should respond to the challenges of providing quality education to 160,000 students while assuring as best we can the safety and health of staff and students.

Expectations range from “Open all grades NOW!” to “wait until a vaccine has been administered to the general population.”

Superintendent Cathy Moore and her senior leadership team — with significant input from parents, students and staff at all levels — continue to make prudent choices that move the District forward with quality instruction and carefully crafted plans to restart face-to-face teaching and learning.

Note: As of 10/19/20, the state has not authorized the return of secondary students to full time in-person classes (Plan A).

Decision Guides

The Board and administration continue to follow Gov. Cooper’s executive orders as well as guidance from NC DHHS, the ABC Science Collaborative at Duke and UNC and existing school-focused laws.

Following the Science

WCPSS is using the NC DHHS Covid-19 tracking website for the most accurate data about infection rates in Wake County.  View the testing dashboard and choose Wake County on the map.  The daily average infection rate will be displayed at the top of the graph.

Standard Operating Procedures


Planning to safely re-open schools has required that almost every process and procedure for schools be revised in accordance with state directives.  Parents will find in-depth info on school operations in this Return to Campus Guide.

For example: specific cleaning protocols can be found on Page 19.  Employees will find cleaning protocols on Page 14 of the Return to Work Guide.

Note: These are large comprehensive documents. Download may take a few minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What about air quality in our buildings?

Check out guidance from the ABC Science Collaborative found in this presentation.

What about PPE?

The district and schools are providing ample hand-sanitizer dispensers and hand sanitizer, facemasks as may be needed, and more specialized PPE when instruction must take place inside of the recommended distance.  Review the staff checklist.

What’s the difference in county and state guidance?

State guidance has some subtle yet profound differences. For example, for elementary schools in Plan B, the required social distance is 6ft.  In Plan A, 6ft is recommended and 3ft is required.

What about Second Semester?

The Board will receive staff recommendations on October 20.  Ample time for discussion and revision will follow.

DRAFT Decision Dates to leave or attend the Virtual Academy

Secondary window is proposed to be October 21-28; elementary window December 2-9.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding as your public schools safely re-open.

Story by Bill Fletcher, member of the Wake County Board of Education. Photos courtesy of Wake County Schools.

All the Cary news for the informed Cary citizen. Subscribe by email.

1 reply
  1. Len NIeman
    Len NIeman says:

    “Beginning Oct. 26, 2020: Grades PreK-3 incorporate in-person learning on a three-week rotation (students learn two weeks online and one week in person).”

    Many of the PreK-3 Special Education students are spitters, or require direct contact when bathroom assistance and mess cleanup is needed. How on earth are teachers, IAs, and other staff supposed to be kept safe in such an enviroment?

Comments are closed.