Return to Headlines

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Senate Bill 37 (SB 37)?

North Carolina Senate Bill 37 or the In-Person Learning Choice for Families Act was introduced on February 2 in the NC General Assembly. The bill requires public school systems to offer in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Durham Public Schools is currently operating under a fully remote learning plan for all students.

What is the proposed (tentative) plan for in-person learning grades PreK-5?

DPS elementary schools will operate four days per week. All students in this option will attend in-person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wellness Wednesdays will remain a remote learning day for students. In-person school days are full-day. Start and end times may vary. All schools will have protocols and procedures in place to ensure the safety of the school community. 

Why will elementary students be in-person four days per week? 

DPS is following current North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services guidance supporting Plan A in elementary schools. There will be fewer students in schools due to families choosing remote instruction, providing greater social distance than during full capacity. In addition, DHHS notes the reduced prevalence of COVID-19 spread among that age group and in smaller school populations. DPS also recognizes younger students’ greater challenges with remote learning.

What is the proposed (tentative) plan for in-person learning grades 6-12?

Middle and high school students will attend in-person learning in three cohorts, going to campus on Mondays and Tuesdays or Thursdays and Fridays. Students will come to school for face-to-face instruction for two consecutive days, then be out of school for virtual (asynchronous) learning on the following four school days while the other two cohorts attend. On virtual days, students will complete assignments, collaborate digitally with peers, and communicate with the teacher through Canvas. All schools will have protocols and procedures in place to ensure the safety of the school community.

Wellness Wednesdays will remain a remote learning day for all students. In-person school days are full-day; start and end times may vary. DPS is continuing to develop scenarios for cohorts in grades 6-12, and we will update families throughout the survey time period with the latest details related to the plan.

What is the proposed (tentative) plan for in-person for EC students in both regular education as well as separate setting classrooms?

All K-12 students with IEPs enrolled in each school have the option for instruction up to four days per week regardless of their IEP needs, unless the parent chooses to continue with virtual learning for their child. 

  • PreK EC students will attend in-person learning according to the services indicated on their IEP.
  • All K-5 students with IEPs will attend four days per week.
  • All middle and high school students (6-12) with IEPs (not adapted curriculum) will attend with their assigned cohorts.
  • All middle and high school students (6-12) with IEPs in EC Separate (Adapted Curriculum) Classes will attend four days per week.
  • Students with IEPs served in Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) and Visually Impaired (VI) Center-based Programs in middle and high school will attend four days per week or attend two days with their cohort. 

What is the proposed (tentative) plan for in-person for English Language Learners?

English Language Learners with higher proficiencies in English will participate in their regular education classes. For K-2 students, ESL teachers will coordinate with classroom teachers to provide synchronous remote instruction. For grades 3-5, first-year, newcomer students may be placed in groups to receive additional ESL support. This will vary per school.

Why will schools be closed to in-person instruction on Wednesdays? 

Wednesdays will continue as an asynchronous learning day for all students.  The asynchronous learning day will allow teachers time to collaborate on teaching and learning including instructional planning in their professional learning communities. Additionally, it allows for our operations team to complete district-wide inspection and restock of supplies, as well as to conduct training for its staff.

What safety measures will be taken by schools?

All staff and students will be required to wear a face-covering throughout the school day in addition to complying with social distancing and handwashing standards. Custodians will disinfect high-touch surfaces throughout the day and sanitize the building each evening.

Will teachers and staff have Personal Protective Equipment?

Yes. All DPS employees will be issued five cloth masks and a face shield. In addition, DPS will provide surgical and KN95 masks upon request, and is also providing gloves, window masks, disposable and reusable gowns, and goggles as appropriate.

Will my children be placed in the same cohort?

DPS will do its best to place children from the same household in the same cohort. This is, however, completely contingent upon the number of students who select in-person learning. 

Will my child have the same teacher in in-person or virtual learning?

We cannot guarantee that your child will remain with their current teacher, whether remote or in-person, due to the unpredictable demand for either option. Students will receive instruction from teachers from their school except in very unusual circumstances.

Will my student be moving to “Ignite” if they stay virtual? Who will provide virtual learning for my student?

Students who remain in virtual learning will receive instruction and support from their school’s teachers. Ignite Online Academy is planned to be a separate virtual DPS school beginning in the 2021-22 school year and will be an ongoing option for families seeking teaching and learning at home.

What will transportation be like for my child?

Busses will transport students to and from school, disinfecting in between bus routes, as well as at the end of each day. DPS will adhere to transportation requirements as delineated in the February 2, 2021, Strong Schools NC: Public Health Toolkit (K-12). As such, parents/guardians will complete daily attestations for their student(s), and students experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to board the bus. Additionally, no more than two elementary school students may be seated to a bus seat during elementary routes, and no more than one middle/high school student to a bus seat during middle and high school routes.

Will before- and after-school programs be offered?

Yes, for elementary students. More information about these offerings is forthcoming.

How long do I have to make my decision?

We are asking all families to indicate their learning preferences as soon as possible. The survey closes Wednesday, February 24.

Could the current plan change?

DPS is working diligently to finalize plans for what school could look like for in-person learning this spring. These plans are contingent upon families’ preferences. Once we have accurate numbers for in-person and virtual learning, we will be able to confirm schedules and other logistics.