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Granville schools: 'Learning has not stopped'

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OXFORD — Granville County Public Schools said it will continue to educate students even while the state extended to May 15 the suspension of public schools.

“We are definitely taking the approach that school may be physically closed for the time being, but learning has not stopped for a minute!” Stan Winborne, spokesman for the district, said in an email this week.

On Monday, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered K-12 public schools to remain closed until at least May 15 for in-person instruction.

State and local education leaders helped Cooper make the decision by looking at recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the governor said.

Cooper said the length of school closures may change.

Schools have been shut since March 15. A two-month closure cannot be treated as a long break, state Superintendent Mark Johnson said.

While students do not have to learn complicated information on their own, he recommends parents work with teachers to create a schedule that prioritizes remote learning.

“To our parents, keep your kids engaged,” Johnson said. “Work on remote learning, reading and writing a few hours each day. Get fresh air. Go to bed at a reasonable time.

“Set a schedule and stick to it.”

Cooper said he did not want to give up on this school year and hopes students will be able to return.

The state Board of Education also asked the General Assembly to waive testing requirements for schools on Monday. The federal Department of Education waived those testing requirements across the nation on Friday, which gave states the power to waive end-of-course and end-of-grade testing.

More guidance for employees is forthcoming, the board said Monday.

Winborne said Granville County is providing supplemental instruction materials to students through paper packets or online.

The school handed out Chromebooks to all fourth and fifth graders Thursday, Winborne said. Middle and high school students already had devices available. The district has handed out about 5,100 devices students are using to study at home.

While school buildings are closed, the Wi-Fi at each campus has been made public and is accessible from the parking lots, Winborne said.

The district is also working to provide meals to students “as long as we can,” Winborne said. On Tuesday, the district handed out 2,529 lunches and the same number of breakfasts.

“We are averaging about 5,000 a day now, and think this will be about the average for the near future,” Winborne said.

The meals are being handed out at 28 sites across the county.