Special Called Board of Education Meeting July 14, 2020


Since closing schools in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Union County Public Schools staff have been working on plans to safely reopen schools and offices. Governor Cooper, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction directed all school districts to develop three plans to address COVID-19 for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

After months of evaluating, listening and reviewing information from local, regional and national resources, UCPS is pleased to share an executive summary of Keeping U Safe: 2020-2021 guidance for instruction, health and safety.

This guide, created in consultation with the NC Department of Public Instruction, local and state health departments, and the Centers for Disease Control, is intended to provide UCPS families and employees with critical information for four guiding principles: instructional planning, maintaining healthy learning and work environments, emotional health, safety and support, and operations. The full plan will be released in the coming weeks as the state releases details about reopening schools. Information related to opening schools is changing on daily basis. UCPS is committed to providing updates as information is made available from national and state officials.

Guidance that informed Keeping U Safe Plan

Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit

Lighting our Way Forward: NC's Guidebook for Reopening Schools

Union County Public Health

UCPS Stakeholders (senior leaders, principals, administrators , teachers and parents)

Guiding Principles and Critical Factors

Instructional Planning

Student Health

Employee Health


governor cooper announced today (July 14) that all schools will open under plan B with in-person and remote learning options

Looking ahead to the 2020-2021 school year

  • Schedule and Student Assignment
  • Health and Safety
  • Transportation
  • School Nutrition Services
  • Virtual Academy Enrollment
  • Social and Emotional Health and Safety

under Plan B, UCPS will implement a hybrid model with face-to-face and remote learning plans

Parent survey results

  • 17,777 total responses collected from grades Pre-K - 12.
  • Questions collected information on hybrid model preferences under Plan B, interest in transportation and interest in virtual learning.
  • Greatest number of responses came from middle and high schools.
  • Of those who responded, 54% preferred a daily rotation, compared to 33% for a half-day rotation and 42% for a weekly rotation.

Plan B: Schedule and student assignment

  • UCPS is recommending a 4-day weekly rotation model for grades Pre-K - 12.
  • Monday - Thursday, students will attend school (in person) one day a week on their assigned day.
  • When students are not in the school building on their assigned day, they will work in a remote environment.
  • Friday will be a Remote Learning Day for all students.
  • This schedule will repeat each week.
  • K-1 parents interested in a full-time online experience in lieu of Plan B should contact their school to discuss this as an option

Plan B: Student Assignment and Schedule

  • Under Plan B, UCPS reserves the right, where class sizes are small and health and safety are not compromised, to accommodate more students in a school.
  • UCPS will reevaluate the schedule and operations on an ongoing basis.

Plan B: Health and Safety

  • To minimize the spread of COVID-19, UCPS will conduct daily symptom and temperature screenings/checks for all students and any person who enters a school building.
  • Social distancing protocols will be required for anyone who enters school buildings.
  • All students (K-12) must wear face coverings in school and on school buses. All staff and adult visitors must wear cloth face coverings in school buildings and offices.
  • The state and UCPS will provide five face coverings for all students, teachers and staff.
  • UCPS will provide additional face coverings for employees.

Plan B: Health and Safety

  • UCPS will follow CDC, state and local guidelines for handling suspected, presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Schools will establish dedicated space for symptomatic individuals.
  • Staff will provide support to families with vulnerable students.
  • Staff will share timely and accurate information about COVID-19 cases at schools and combat misinformation.

plan B: health and safety

  • The state has provided all school districts with starter Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) packs for nurses.

Plan B: operations

  • Following CDC, state and local guidelines, UCPS will adhere to cleaning protocols for schools and office buildings.
  • Establish schedules for regular, daily cleaning of high-touch areas with approved products.
  • Requires facilities to maintain 6-feet social distancing throughout classrooms and schools.

Plan b: operations

  • Install physical barriers where practical, such as sneeze guards, and provide physical markings to ensure social distancing of at least 6 feet in areas outside of restrooms and cafeterias.
  • Place signage in key areas of schools and offices with reminders to wear face coverings, wash hands and practice social distancing.
  • Limit non-essential use of buildings and facilities by visitors and outside groups.

Plan B: employee social and emotional health and safety

  • Continue COVID-19 helpline for employees.
  • Provide resources for mental health and wellness support.
  • Strongly encourage employees to follow CDC, state and local guidelines and requirements for wearing face coverings and reporting suspected, presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • UCPS is exploring a child care service model for employees that will operate through the After School Program and community partners.

Plan B: Transportation

  • School buses will operate at a reduced capacity with one student per seat, to allow for social distancing.
  • UCPS will follow the latest screening protocols for students, including the use of a student attestation form to evaluate symptoms.

Plan B: School Nutrition Services

  • School Nutrition Services will continue to prepare meals in school cafeterias, adhering to strict food safety and sanitary procedures.
  • As an added measure of precaution, self-serve lunches will be replaced with individually prepared grab-and-go or classroom meals.
  • Schools will allow students time for adequate hand washing and adjust schedules for eating.
  • UCPS will continue to ensure the safety of children with food allergies.

Plan B: after school program and extra-curricular activities

  • Limited After School Program care may be available.
  • The operation of school clubs and activities will be contingent on state guidelines.
  • UCPS athletics will operate per guidelines from the NC High School Athletics Association.

Plan D: Virtual Academy

  • New academy model for UCPS students.
  • Full-time virtual option for students in grades 2- 12.
  • School within a school model where supported by enrollment.
  • Students will be taught by a teacher at their child's school or from the cluster.
  • Families who enroll must commit to a minimum of one semester, with an evaluation for second semester. (recommendation is one-year commitment)
  • The application will be available via Scribbles on Monday, July 20 and will close Sunday, July 26 at 11:59 p.m.


  • Reintroduce school support teams to students (nurses, school social worker, school counselor(s), school psychologist, School Resource Officer)
  • Support teams will provide mental and emotional health support to students through individual meetings, small-group sessions, classroom visits, etc.
  • Support will be provided for students in face-to-face and remote learning environments.

Next steps

  • Finalize plan and align with guidance from the Governor's office, the NC Department of Public Instruction and the NC Department of Health and Human Services Department.
  • Execute student schedules, transportation assignments, etc.
  • Deploy technology resources for grades 2-12.
  • Prepare buildings and offices for reopening.