— GCPS Press Release
At their regularly scheduled meeting on January 11, 2021, the Granville County Board of Education voted 5-2 for students to remain in remote learning status, or Plan C. Board members LeBreque and Houlihan voted against the motion. The approved motion directed staff to continue providing updates on the readiness indicators and would require the Board to reconsider a change to the plan at their March 1, 2021 Board Meeting. The motion also stated that, if possible, families should be given at least two weeks notice prior to a change in the district’s learning plan. Under this plan, the earliest students could return to school would be on March 15, 2021, and would do so under a staggered schedule with PK and students in separate self-contained classrooms returning to school first.
Superintendent McLean offered her perspective, stating, “Our heart’s desire is to have children return to school as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the indicators are simply going in the wrong direction. Quality instruction is critically important at all times, and administrators and teachers are working hard to ensure our students are engaged and actively learning while under Plan C. We want all of our families to know that we are here for you, so please reach out if there are needs that are not being met and we will do our very best to support you.”
During a presentation shared at the meeting, Dr. Shauna Guthrie, MD, MPH, and Medical Director of the Granville Vance Department of Health, provided data on the spread of COVID in our community. Each of the key metrics presented show a rise in the spread of the virus in and around the Granville Community. In addition, staff also shared data regarding staff shortages at schools. Since December, the number of staff required to quarantine has risen by more than 20%. Nearly a third of all 855 full-time employees have been forced to isolate at home at some point since the pandemic began. In the month of December alone, there were more than 7 days with more than 25 teachers out on quarantine. The number of available substitutes remains less than half of what it was pre-pandemic. Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Human Resources, Dr. Stan Winborne, explained, “Our ability to maintain sufficient staff in our buildings to safely supervise children continues to decline as the pandemic drags on. It is not just our teachers who are being impacted, but the countless others who play critical support roles in serving our children and making sure our operations run smoothly and safely.”
Chairman Richardson also noted, “This is definitely not the preferred mode of learning. We absolutely want our children back in school as soon as it is safe to do so. With the vaccines ramping up, it is my hope we can begin to turn the corner on this soon. In the meantime, we must do all we can to ensure the quality of our instruction and services to our children while on remote learning.”
GCPS would like to extend an apology for the technical issues with the digital production of the January 11 meeting. We thank everyone for their patience and understanding. The next regular Board of Education meeting is February 1, 2021.