Breaking News
More () »

Guilford County Schools approves phased re-entry plan for elementary, middle school students to return in October

The district recommended the board approve Plan A with a phased re-entry plan. High school students will return in January.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — Guilford County Schools approved a phased re-entry plan for students. 

It also approved a plan to adjust the school day bell schedules for elementary, middle and high school students to allow time for bus travel.

The Guilford County Board of Education voted Thursday night, 5 - 4, to approve Superintendent Sharon Contreras' original phased re-entry plan.

“We are taking a phased approach to reopening, given our limited fiscal and human resources to open fully, bringing back our youngest and most vulnerable students first, because we know they have the greatest need for face-to-face learning and support,” Contreras said.

Here's a breakdown by school and grade level for the phased re-entry plan for students.

WATCH: Guilford County Schools Board of Education members answer re-entry questions


The approved plan allows all of pre-K through second grade to return to the classroom full-time on Oct. 20. 

A week later, on Oct. 26, grades 3-5 would phase in full-time. 

New Elementary Bell Schedule

The elementary school day will be from 7:35 a.m. to 2:05 p.m.

Social Distancing School Changes

Elementary schools are following the state's guidelines for social distancing which means using all available building spaces. In meeting that requirement, two schools including Morehead Elementary and Rankin Elementary – will temporarily house their fifth-graders at other sites.


At the middle school level, students will return for two-days of in-person learning per week. Under the plan, half of the middle school students will attend Mondays and Tuesdays, the other half on Thursdays and Fridays.

Wednesdays will be reserved for remote instruction to allow for deep cleaning of buildings between student groups. The schools will also be cleaned Friday evenings.

  • Sixth-grade students will begin on Oct. 20.
  • Seventh and eighth-graders will return on Oct. 26.

New Middle School Bell Schedule

The middle school day will be from 8:35 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. 


Three schools that serve both elementary and middle grades – The Academy at Lincoln, Allen Jay Prep and Johnson Street Global Studies – will follow the elementary guidance and return to school five days per week. Buildings will undergo deep cleaning every Friday evening.

Students at the district’s four public separate schools including Gateway Education Center, Haynes-Inman Education Center, Herbin-Metz Education Center and Christine Greene Education Center – will also return five days a week.


High school students will follow the same guidelines when they return on Jan. 20, according to the district. 

New High School Bell Schedule 

The high school day will be from 9:35 a.m. to 4:25 p.m.

Credit: Guilford County Schools

The district has named many reasons why high school students would return later; from capacity problems at already-overpopulated GCS high schools, to guidance from the governor.


Specific groups of middle and high school students, such as students who are homeless, students in foster care, students with disabilities who are served in self-contained classrooms, students in the first years of English language acquisition and students with multiple risk factors will be allowed to return to classrooms on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, beginning on Oct. 20.


Families who are interested in the district’s virtual schools have until October 2 at 5 p.m., to register using the website gcsnc.schoolmint.net.


The school district is asking all parents to fill out a transportation form for any student requiring a bus ride.

The school district will use it to determine bus routes and schedules for the reopening of schools beginning October 20. 

The deadline to submit the form is 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1.  

Make sure you fill out the transportation form


GCS’ plan to reopen schools depends on whether public health indicators regarding community spread are trending in the right direction, according to district officials. The school board approved metrics at Thursday’s meeting that were developed in partnership with the Guilford County Public Health Department.

No one measure supersedes another, and the overall trend lines are more important than specific data points, according to public health officials. The metrics include the number of new cases daily per 100,000 persons in Guilford County, the number of new cases within the last 14 days per 100,000 persons in Guilford County, the daily positivity rate in Guilford County as compared to the total number of tests taken and compliance with public health measures in schools by students and staff. The secondary indicators include a downward, 14-day trend in hospitalization rates for COVID-19 in Guilford County and the community’s intensive care unit.

For more information on reopening schools, visit www.gcsnc.com/reopening. Information available on the reopening website includes everything parents and staff need to know, from face covering requirements and daily health screenings to procedures for entering and exiting school buildings, preparing socially distanced classrooms and more.


Guilford County Schools will hold a news conference on Friday to discuss the approved phased re-entry plan. You can watch it on WFMYNews2.com or our mobile app or on our Youtube page.

Download the WFMY News 2 app:

Text the word APP to 336-379-5775




Before You Leave, Check This Out