ABSS considering delaying in-person return of students

The Alamance-Burlington School System scheduled an Emergency Meeting for 11:00 a.m. the morning of Friday, October 23 in order to address the possibility of updating its Plan B Blended Learning Model, which was set to go into effect October 28. ABSS Superintendent Dr. Bruce Benson sent the following letter to ABSS staff and families the afternoon of Thursday, October 22. The ABSS Board was expected to take a vote on the matter Friday morning.  

The Alamance-Burlington School System scheduled an Emergency Meeting for 11:00 a.m. the morning of Friday, October 23 in order to address the possibility of updating its Plan B Blended Learning Model, which was set to go into effect October 28. 

By a 6-1 vote, the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education voted for ABSS students grades pre-k through 12th grade to continue with all-remote learning through the end of the first semester that ends January 15. ABSS will not implement Plan B at this time. 

ABSS Superintendent Dr. Bruce Benson sent the following letter to ABSS staff and families the afternoon of Thursday, October 22. 

October 22, 2020

Dear ABSS Staff and Families:

We have been diligent in planning and preparing for our Plan B Blended Learning Model scheduled to launch on October 28 for our pre-k through second graders and Adapted Curriculum students and on November 18 for our students in grades 3-5.

This week’s updates about the spread of COVID-19 from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and our Alamance County Health Department (ACHD) show that the virus continues on an upward trend across the state and in our community at this time. The test positivity rate for our own community is presently at 8 percent. 

Based on the most current information we have about COVID-19 from our public health partners, I want to announce the following. 

The Alamance-Burlington Board of Education has planned an emergency meeting for tomorrow, Friday, October 23 at 11:00 am. 

I plan to make the following recommendations related to our Plan B Blended Learning Model.

I will recommend that we pause with implementing our board-approved plans based on the current conditions of COVID-19. 

I will recommend that Pre-K through second grade students begin the Plan B Blended Learning schedule on Wednesday, November 18, including Adapted Curriculum students.

I will recommend that Grades 3-5 will begin Plan B Blended Learning schedule on Wednesday, December 2.

Our middle and high school students will continue with their current remote learning schedules through January 15 (end of the second nine weeks).

It is our hope that the metrics related to COVID-19 will trend more favorably over the next three weeks so that we can implement our Plan B model, beginning on November 18. 

The Board of Education has a regularly scheduled work session on Tuesday, November 10 at 12:30 pm. If COVID-19 metrics are not trending downward in a satisfactory fashion by then, I believe that will leave us no other option but to recommend that our students remain in all-remote learning through the end of the first semester that ends on January 15. 

I can’t reinforce strongly enough how important it is for everyone to follow the 3Ws: wash hands frequently, wear a face covering and wait 6 feet apart when around others in a public setting.

Statistics shared by NCDHHS this week from recent key research studies show that the risk of infection from COVID-19 decreases by:

85 percent with social distancing

77 percent by always wearing a mask

67 percent by frequent hand washing

These are 3 proven and effective methods of reducing the spread of the virus that are simple for everyone to follow. By working together and with our community’s support, we can be successful.

We need everyone’s help with these key actions to assist with getting our students back to our classrooms as soon as possible. Thank you.

W. Bruce Benson, Ed.D.

Superintendent