Superintendent calls for virtual only start to school year in Cumberland County

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cumberland County Schools may join with other districts in central North Carolina by deciding to start the upcoming school year with only online classes.

Cumberland County Schools Superintendent Dr. Marvin Connelly Jr. is recommending the district begin the fall semester in Plan C--which calls for no in person classes.

"The safety of our students and staff is our top priority," Connelly said. "Over the last few days, we have received several health and safety concerns about the opening of schools. As promised, we have continued to monitor the situation and will use data to make informed decisions for our students and staff, in consultation with local health officials."

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Connelly will present his recommendation to the district's school board during a Tuesday morning meeting. The school board will be able to vote on the recommendation at that meeting.

"Delaying the implementation of Plan B (blended face-to-face and remote instruction) until later in the school year will provide more opportunities for us to watch coronavirus trends in Cumberland County and prepare to tackle the challenges of executing such a model," Connelly said.

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If Cumberland County approves the decision, it would join the likes of Orange County Schools, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Durham Public Schools, Chatham County Schools, Vance County Schools, and Warren County Schools--all of which are starting the year with only remote learning.

Wake County Public School System has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday where leaders will discuss the same topic. Wake County School Board Chairman Keith Sutton told ABC11 that he is 'strongly considering' a move to Plan C.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced earlier in the week that schools could follow through with Plan B--a mixture between in-person and remote learning--but since then several school districts have opted for a more cautious approach.
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