Durham Public Schools officials propose health screenings, face masks, social distancing for upcoming school year

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Friday, June 26, 2020
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While nothing is concrete, Durham education officials unveiled the use of COVID-19 screenings, face masks and social distancing for the upcoming school year during a Thursday night

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- During a Thursday night Durham Public Schools Board of Education meeting, education officials proposed the use of COVID-19 screenings, face masks and social distancing for the upcoming school year.

Superintendent Dr. Pascal Mubenga's unveiled a three-point plan for reopening Durham schools: completely in-person, completely online, or a blend of the two. The "living document" would apply for students in pre-K through eighth grade, online instruction for grades 9-12 and accommodations for students with special needs.

WATCH: The DPS proposal for the upcoming semester

During the digital meeting, Mubenga presented a survey in which 47 percent of the teachers wanted to teach online, 39 percent supported hybrid learning and 14 percent wanted in-person teaching.

Mubenga cited a number of concerns including public transportation and the digital disparity brought upon the education system by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fifty percent of parents wanted their kids at home while the other 50 percent wanted hybrid or in-person learning.

In awareness of the concern of COVID-19 within Durham County, schools would see increased sanitization within schools.

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Nakia Hardy presented three potential routes of reopening for K-12 public schools provided by the state:

  • Plan A: Minimal Social Distancing - face coverings, entry screening, social distancing where possible, minimum restriction of movement
  • Plan B: Moderate Social Distancing - building & transportation occupancy at 50% or less with mandatory social distancing movement restricted
  • Plan C: Remote learning Only - No in-person instruction

"Governor wanted us to have three options, plan A, B and C," Mubenga said. "My conversation with him, based on what we have in Durham, it's going to be really hard for us to implement plan A."

WATCH: Deputy Superintendent Dr. Nakia Hardy presents reopening plans for Durham County Public Schools

On Wednesday, Wake County Public School System leaders discussed a similar plan.

Ahead of the Board of Education meeting, youth advocates demanded action that Durham Public Schools officials defund student resource officers. Instead, the advocates advised that the money should be budgeted towards more nurses, therapists and guidance counselors.

When the time came to address the public's comments, Chief Communication Officer William Sudderth said that since around 3 p.m., the school received multiple messages surrounding the funding of SROs.

RELATED: Youth advocates amplify 'defund SRO' message to Durham School leaders