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Granville schools set up learning plan while classes canceled

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OXFORD — Granville County school officials say they don’t want learning to stop while classes are suspended for two weeks.

During an emergency telephone meeting of the Granville County Board of Education on Monday, Superintendent Alisa McLean said that while the schools don’t have every answer, the district is working to get meals to students and put a learning plan in place.

She said school staff is working to get information out as quickly as possible while the situation remains fluid.

Gov. Roy Cooper ordered the closing of all public schools in the state for two weeks, beginning March 16, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But Granville officials are also working on a plan for the worst-case scenario where schools remain closed for an extended period.

‘What-if’ plan

Michael Myrick, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, told the school board the district has a plan of action for extended learning for all students through March 30.

The supplemental learning can take place virtually or through the use of teacher-made handouts. All supplemental assignments will be aligned to current units or focus on reviewing content previously taught.

Copies of assignments for students that do not have internet access are available in the front office of the child’s assigned school. The same information and assignments are available on the school and district websites and through social media.

Online assignments can be found online here.

Myrick said that he and the staff were developing a “what-if” plan that may include online teaching should schools be closed beyond two weeks.

McLean said depending on how long the COVID-19 closures last, the school district may have to take the classrooms to the students with something similar to the book bus that travels to different areas during the summer.

This idea and other ideas are in the beginning stages of discussion, McLean said.

Teachers at work

District spokesman Stan Winborne said the school closures will not be a vacation for staff.

“The expectation from the state is that the employees continue to work,” Winborne said. “We have asked the staff to treat this as a typical optional workday and we are calling them workdays. Everyone should be working or taking the appropriate leave with or without pay as they have available.

Windborne said the district is identifying staff members who can work from home and encouraging those who can to do so.

Winborne added that each school is undergoing a deep cleaning by maintenance staff. He also noted that there is a professional cleaning service on standby in case it is needed.

Emergency powers

The school board voted to give McLean authority to take any lawful actions and to temporarily waive board policies as necessary in response to potential risk associated with the coronavirus, with the understanding she would continue to keep the board informed of any such actions.

McLean must consult with board Chairman David Richardson, the county health department and state health officials before taking any actions during the state of emergency.

The board also had to vote to waive meeting requirements that would limit board members from participating in virtual meetings during the emergency situation.

The board has its next regular meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, April 6, at Central Service Building, Oxford.