Cumberland County Schools voted to delay any return to the classroom for students until at least March 15, in its board meeting Tuesday morning.
The system Superintendent, Dr. Marvin Connelly, had recommended to hold off from the planned return in January, as COVID-19 cases remain extremely high in the county.
Board members hoped that the plan to vaccinate teachers in the next phase, would provide a better atmosphere for students and teachers to return in March. There will not be a staggered reentry at that point, because of the length of time before scheduled Spring Break, but students would be on the alternating hybrid in-person and remote setup.
The decision comes as in just the first seven days of the month, Dr. Connelly said 75 staff members with Cumberland County Schools had tested positive for the coronavirus. An additional 76 were in quarantine as close contacts to a positive case.
“As all of us know, these metrics are incredibly high,” Dr. Connelly said. “We have already begun the process of registering (teachers and staff) for the vaccinations.”
Dr. Connelly said that in working with the county, they expect that all Cumberland County Schools teachers and staff will be able to receive the first dose of vaccines by the last week in January, as they prepare for the March return.
Teachers will not be required to take the vaccine, but Dr. Connelly said the district is strongly encouraging it.
Dr. Connelly said there would be no changes to the current plan for athletics as Cumberland County Schools prepares for its return.
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