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GCS delays reentry for Pre K-2 students due to higher COVID-19 metrics

The district and health department say the positivity rate should be at 5% percent or below before students went back. As of the latest data, it is at 6.5%.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guilford County Schools postponed its reentry plan for students pre K-2, the district announced Monday.

The decision was made based on the recommendation made Monday afternoon by Guilford County public health officials, who indicated that updated community health data shows that students and staff would face the “highest possible risk of transmission in schools,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  

"We rely on our public health partners, and when public health says the risk of transmission is in its highest category with no signs of improvement, as educators, we’re going to listen"

In-person classes were set to begin for the 2020 school year on Tuesday, now those students won't return until further notice.

Public Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann said the latest coronavirus data for Guilford County is concerning as the positivity rate and the number of hospitalizations climbs. The district and health department said they want the positivity rate to be at 5% percent or below before students went back. As of the latest data, the positivity rate was at 6.5% for the county.

“If we want our children back in school, then we need more help from the community to do so,” Dr. Vann said. “Wear a mask or face covering, limit your exposure to people outside of your immediate family, exercise caution when restarting family activities, stay socially distanced and practice good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.”

"We understand that this is frustrating for our parent's students and staff," Dr. Contreras added. "Everyone has been working so hard to have schools ready for students tomorrow. It's just really disappointing."

Contreras said pre-k and kindergarten students who went back voluntarily can continue since class and staff sizes are small. The students will continue to use the same bus stops and grab-and-go lunches will also continue.

Pre-k and kindergarten students who did not go back to class voluntarily will have to wait, Contreras said.

The district has said that all reentry plans will depend on the metrics. Public Health officials will update GCS Friday on positive cases. The district will use those metrics to make any updated decisions on reentry.

The earliest students would be able to go back full-time is Monday October 26 but again, that announcement will be made on Friday. 

WFMY News 2's Jess Winters asked Dr. Contreras if parents should just wait on week-to-week announcements since the plans change so often. 

"I believe the school board will make a decision on whether week-to-week is too much for parents and if we should make a more long term decision because we believe the consequences of not being in school are dire," she explained. "So if we can get students back in schools in the next two weeks we’re going to do everything in our power to get them there but we need the community’s help."