The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) on Thursday altered the district’s calendar due to concerns about COVID-19, the disease caused by a new coronavirus.
In a letter to educators and parents, CHCCS Superintendent Pam Baldwin said schools will remain closed until April 6, or longer.
“If all goes well, we will be back in school on Monday, April 6,” Baldwin wrote. “However, we understand the severity of the current situation and there are still many unknowns. That date could be altered depending on many factors.”
Here’s how Baldwin explained the decision:
“In recent weeks, we have been monitoring COVID-19 (Coronavirus), and have been in contact with our county and state authorities. We also hear the voices of our staff, our families and our community. We realize this is a difficult time, and may cause significant unpredictable hardships, and the decisions we make in response are very carefully considered. Clearly, the best method for mitigating the progression of the virus is to minimize the opportunities for transmission.”
Baldwin also shared a revised school calendar that shows March 16-18 as teacher workdays. Teachers will spend those days preparing for she described as a “prolonged period of extending learning.”
The district’s spring break begins March 19 and will run through March 27. Students will learn from home March 30 –April 3, Baldwin said. She said more information about students learning from home would be shared later.
Districts across North Carolina have suspended most extra-curricular activities such as athletic competitions and out-of-town field trips due to the threat of COVID-19.
K-12 closures in North Carolina appear inevitable when one considers the speed at which the virus is spreading.
Some states have already closed K-12 due to concern about the virus. Maryland announced Thursday that all public schools will close March 16-27. Schools have been asked to use spring break as makeup days.
A day earlier, the UNC System announced that all state-funded schools would deliver courses online only. Duke University in Durham and other private schools have opted to provide classes online.
State Superintendent Mark Johnson told state leaders attending Thursday’s meeting of the Governor’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force that parents with the means to keep children are frustrated that schools have not closed.
“If, heaven forbid, we have to make the decision to close schools, we will also then have to hear from parents who struggle to keep their children at home, who might not have the internet connection,” Johnson said. “And we know that there will be students who will not get the nutrition they need during the day.”