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Forsyth County Schools to return to face-to-face learning Monday
Poole's Mill Elementary School students wear face masks heading into the first day of school in August 2020. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Forsyth County Schools announced Friday morning that the district will return to face-to-face instruction on Monday, Jan. 10.

According to a statement released to parents and guardians from Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden, FCS leaders have determined that they will have enough staff available to fully serve students as they come back to their campuses on Monday morning. He said parents should, however, expect "isolated transportation delays, similar to what we experienced" at the start of the school year in August.

"Our 41 schools will remain open this semester if we can staff them," Bearden wrote in the statement. "Please be prepared to pivot if any school is unable to operate due to a shortage of staff. If this occurs, it will transition to virtual learning until we are able to adequately staff the school."

In order to keep schools open, Bearden emphasized that students who are feeling sick or are symptomatic need to be kept at home. Students or staff members awaiting COVID-19 test results are also required to stay home.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, FCS announced earlier this week that they will be reverting to some COVID-19 measures originally put into place last August as students return on Monday. These measures include limiting visitors within school buildings and school staff members strongly encouraging students and parents wear masks on campus.

Face masks are still not required in school buildings.

Bearden stated that they also continue to strongly encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently, keep their work areas clean and cover up coughs or sneezes.

Coming back from the winter break, FCS has updated the number of reported student and staff COVID-19 cases on its website. As of Friday morning, it states there are 167 active COVID-19 cases within the school system — 63 student cases and 104 staff cases. This is out of a population of more than 49,800 face-to-face students and more than 5,700 staff members.

"I hope that COVID cases begin to decline this month as rapidly as they increased," Bearden stated. "Just as we did during first semester, we will return to normal operations once our local data shows that it is safe to do so .... Students need to be in school and we want them to be in school.  I’m looking forward to a very productive and enjoyable second semester."