Union County school board votes to go fully remote for a week

Union County schools vote to move to remote learning

UNION COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Union County Public Schools has voted to go fully remote for a week in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the board of education, the remote learning period will go from Jan. 4-8. As of now, students would go back to their normal in-person learning plans on Jan. 11.

The board also voted to pay hourly workers even if they can’t work during the fully remote learning week. The board estimates it’s about $155,000 local dollars. Officials say this would cover what the state normally pays.

School officials called an emergency meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Superintendent Dr. Andrew Houlihan initially recommended the school district to move to remote learning for next week.

The superintendent says the holiday break has caused many of their normal COVID-19 data to be delayed. Dr. Houlihan also recognized that contact tracing has been tough. The remote week would allow them to go through data and make a decision once they have the appropriate numbers.

The board chair says nurses at their schools, who go through the data, report they wouldn’t have enough time to go through two weeks of data. Those nurses are on break just like the rest of the district.

UCPS officials say they have been working with the health department. UCPS nurses are expected to start getting vaccine doses on Jan. 7, 8 and 9. They’re part of Phase 1a.

The school district says the vaccine isn’t mandatory for staff, but it will be offered to them if they they want it.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.