Effective Monday, October 18, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade students and teachers will be permitted to temporarily remove their face coverings during “direct and explicit phonics instruction.”
This exception will allow students to observe and practice the mouth’s formation of letters and sounds in limited time periods that will be shorter than when they remove face coverings to eat lunch. During these brief periods when face coverings are removed, students will be kept in the same groups as during their lunch times, to maintain consistency for contact tracing purposes.
Outside of this “direct and explicit phonics instruction” exception for grades K-3, face covering requirements will remain the same across the district. This means students, staff, and adult visitors are still required to wear face coverings indoors at all HCPS properties and in group transportation settings, unless a legal exception applies.
District administrators and school board members remain committed to monitoring community health trends and adjusting school system operations in the interest of student, staff, and public health.
Instructional “Return to Learn” plans will continue to be evaluated and refined based on current health data, as well as federal, state, and local guidelines.
Any additional changes will be communicated to HCPS families via SwiftK12 emails and phone calls. This exception will be updated online at www.HCPSNC.org/ReturnToLearn on Monday.