Fall semester begins for Stanly County Schools

(Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

ALBEMARLE — For the first time since March 2020, Stanly County Schools have opened up with full face-to-face instruction as the fall semester of classes began Monday for the district’s 11 elementary schools, four middle schools and seven high schools. 

“A new school year and new beginnings are always a cause for excitement and anticipation,” Dr. Jarrod Dennis, superintendent of Stanly County Schools, wrote in an open letter to the county posted on the SCS website. “The 2021-2022 school year brings an opportunity for a fresh start, and an opportunity for students and teachers to be together in class for the first time in quite a while.” 

Dennis referenced that the county’s schools will be continuing to use “appropriate safety measures” to try to deter the spread of COVID-19 throughout the school system. In addition, free COVID-19 testing will be offered for all students and staff throughout the school year. 

On Aug. 3, the Stanly County Board of Education voted 6-1 to enforce a mask policy for the fall semester that included a caveat — the policy will be dropped if the county’s percent-positive rate for tests falls below 7.9% for a consecutive two-week period. The Stanly County Health Department is currently reporting a 16.4% positivity rate based on data provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services on Aug. 23. 

In his letter, the SCS superintendent thanked the county’s employees for their efforts during the pandemic when many of them were forced to work remotely and adapt their schedules to the hybrid learning format that was adopted.  

“Our teachers and staff have done an outstanding job in the past year and a half with all of the challenges the pandemic has caused them to have to face,” Dennis said. “They have learned how to successfully provide remote instruction while also finding creative ways to provide instruction in an ever-changing educational landscape. Now it is time for students to return to what we recognize as invaluable face-to-face instruction.”