Youngest students in Cabarrus County head back to classroom for in-person learning

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — More students are headed back into the classroom Tuesday as the Cabarrus County School District sends its youngest students back to class.

Tuesday, kindergartners through third graders will be back in class four days a week for in-person learning under Plan A.

The Cabarrus County School Board voted on Jan. 23 to bring some students back to Plan A.

Plan A still includes safety measures like face coverings for every teacher and student, symptom screenings and social distancing.

It does not require schools to limit the number of students in the classroom. Parents like Kristi Beason, who has two students at Carl Furr Elementary, said that’s not a concern.

“I’m actually excited about it because I know the school is actually doing all they need to keep our kids safe,” Beason said. “They try to keep them as six feet apart as much as they possibly can.”

Cabarrus County will have students remote learn on Fridays.

The decision prompted dozens of families and teachers to protest outside a board meeting three weeks ago, holding signs and chanting.

Many teachers wanted to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they returned under Plan A.

The county’s teachers association has also been vocal about their opposition to students returning four days a week. They said most board members “ignored their decision-making health metrics to placate a small, but vocal contingent.”

They also said teachers and families “deserve better consideration than to be hurled from one hastily-improvised plan to the next.”

Fourth and fifth graders are set to return on March 15.

The school district has consistently said if the COVID numbers get too high, they will adjust their plans.

The CDC said COVID doesn’t spread as easily if schools are vigilant in following health guidelines with frequently cleaning, which the school district said it is doing.

The CDC also issued new color coded guidelines. Schools in blue or yellow areas are encouraged to fully reopen because COVID transmission is low.

Cabarrus County is in the “Red,” meaning transmission rates are higher than 10 percent. The CDC said those schools should do some in-person learning with reduced attendance.