CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The traditional school year ends this week, but school officials, parents and students are already turning their attention to the fall.
This week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released guidance on how public schools can safely re-open to in-person instruction.
“We are pushing forward to get schools open again this fall,” Governor Roy Cooper said Monday.
While the guidance goes into great detail in some instances, there is a group of parents who feel their students’ needs haven’t been considered.
“I’m actually concerned about sending my son back, to be honest,” Danielle Moncho said.
Moncho has a 13-year old son with Asperger’s, ADHD and sensory processing disorder. When she saw the 26-page packet released by health officials Monday she noticed many of her son’s needs were unaddressed.
“If the structure is going to be different, if the environment is going to be different we need to be able to prepare our children that have special needs for that type of change,” Moncho said.
Most of the guidance in the Public Health Toolkit focuses on safety practices and protocols for students and faculty.
“Students and staff will be screened for illness before entering the school,” Governor Cooper said. “Children will be asked to socially distance themselves from classmates.”
The guidance does not acknowledge the impact these changes can have on students like Moncho’s son.
“They very much need routine, and every time you throw a change into that routine, it has a huge impact on a child that has autism,” Moncho said.
Lunch, recess and gym class are all mainstays in the traditional school day which are likely to be impacted.
“What is their plan to give these kids mental breaks?” Moncho said.
Right now there are three separate plans: minimal social distancing, moderate social distancing or remote learning only. The state plans to announced by July 1 which route it intends to take this fall.