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Guilford County Schools adjusts reentry plan, taking into account recent COVID-19 trends

The school district pushed back the return to school for some students because of coronavirus data trends in the community.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — The return to some form of in-person learning will be later than originally planned for some students, Guilford County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras announced Wednesday. 

Coronavirus data trends are to blame for the pushback. The move comes after Tuesday night's heated board of education meeting that left parents, teachers, and students with more questions than answers.

Under the revised plan, pre-k through second grade will return to the classroom on Oct. 20, as originally scheduled. 

Other students will have to wait longer. The plan is to have grades three through five return either Nov. 4 or 5. 

Middle schoolers could return part-time on Nov. 12.

In-person learning for these students is dependent on how the data is trending at that time. School district officials said they'll continue to follow the trends and make decisions for each reentry a week before each grade is set to go back. 

High school students are still set to return to the classroom, part-time, on Jan. 20. 

RELATED: 'I have the literal receipts' | Guilford County Board of Education meeting gets heated Tuesday night

"It has always been our goal to bring back the largest number of students that we can while maintaining a safe environment for students and staff," Contreras said. 

Contreras says they're making it a point to re-evaluate as they go. 

"We're looking at things like, 'Are there clusters in school? Is there community spread in schools?'" she said. 

"We continue to look at the metrics, we continue to look at the data," said Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann. "We know that going forward, we need to pivot and be flexible and determine exactly which way we need to go." 

The Guilford County School District has been working closely with the health department in the weeks leading up to re-entry and plans to continue doing so. 

If coronavirus cases turn up when classes resume in person, Vann said they'll look at each situation on a case-by-case basis, taking into account clusters and the impact on the school, and decide whether to close it from there. 

RELATED: Guilford County Schools announces sixth graders will not return as originally planned among other reentry changes