DPS Board Meeting: Spring Plans and Other Updates

DPS+Board+Meeting%3A+Spring+Plans+and+Other+Updates

Caleb Stine, Chief Editor

On Thursday, November 19, the Durham Public Schools Board of Education met to consider an array of items concerning reopenings, resource funding, and general operations. The meeting was conducted virtually and posted on the DPS YouTube channel.

Consent items allowing the purchase of additional laptops and safety management software using CARES coronavirus relief funding were both unanimously passed by the board. A unanimous vote also approved the request for federal and state waivers from high stakes testing due to the COVID pandemic.

A Plan B recommendation that would outline the possible return of elementary school students to in-person learning was passed by a narrow margin of 4-3. Plan B was amended and now requires board members to revisit the plan on December 10 and January 7 to monitor COVID-19 data. The board set a standard that elementary students will only return to their classes in-person if COVID cases remain below 4% for two weeks.

Despite the resumption of cross country and volleyball, an athletic reopening update failed to pass Thursday effectively canceling cheerleading, field hockey, swimming, football, boys soccer, and lacrosse for the 2020-21 season. This athletic update failed to pass by a tie-breaking margin of 4-3. While the board will meet on December 17 to potentially revise their decision, an all-clear for these athletics to resume is not a likely possibility.

Thursday’s meeting further emphasizes the reality that COVID has radically impacted the structure of education and other activities and also highlights the will and determination of the DPS School Board to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of their students while also attempting to transition the district towards a safe normal.