North Carolina K-12 Public Schools to Require Key Safety Measures to All In-person Instruction

Districts may choose to conduct school entirely by remote learning

North Carolina will continue to pause in Safer At Home Phase 2 for three more weeks

RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen were joined today by education and health leaders to announce health and safety plans for K-12 public schools for the new school year. Schools will open for in-person instruction under an updated Plan B that requires face coverings for all K-12 students, fewer children in the classroom, measures to ensure social distancing for everyone in the building, and other safety protocols.

“The most important opening is that of our classroom doors. Our schools provide more than academics; they are vital to our children’s’ health, safety and emotional development,” said Governor Cooper. “This is a difficult time for families with hard choices on every side. I am committed to working together to ensure our students and educators are as safe as possible and that children have opportunities to learn in the way that is best for them and their families.”

The Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit outlines the updated requirements for Plan B. Districts may choose to operate under Plan C, which calls for remote learning only, and health leaders recommend schools allow families to opt in to all-remote learning. Modifications have been made to Plan B since it was released in June to make it more protective of public health.

“After looking at the current scientific evidence and weighing the risks and benefits, we have decided to move forward with today’s balanced, flexible approach which allows for in-person instruction as long as key safety requirements are in place in addition to remote learning options.” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, MD. “We will continue to follow the science and data and update recommendations as needed. We ask every North Carolinian to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and follow the three W’s: Wear a face covering when in public, Wait 6 feet apart, Wash your hands.”

Governor Cooper also announced that the state will provide at least five reusable face coverings for every student, teacher and school staff member in public schools. In June, the state provided packs of personal protective equipment to schools that included a two-month supply of thermometers, surgical masks, face shields and gowns for school nurses and delegated staff who provide health care to students.

“Educators and stakeholders across our state have worked tirelessly to reopen our school buildings safely for our students, teachers and staff. Today, we take another critical step towards that goal. We also know families need to choose the option that is best for their children, so all school districts will provide remote learning options,” said Eric Davis, Chairman of the State Board of Education.

“In-person education is important for children, and it happens in the context of a community. This plan strikes the right balance between health and safety and the benefits of having children learn in the classroom. We must all continue with proven measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission like wearing a face covering, keeping distance between people, and frequent hand and surface cleanings so we can move closer to safely re-opening public schools,” said Dr. Theresa Flynn, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, a practicing pediatrician who serves on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Pediatric Society and joined today’s announcement.

Under Plan B, schools are required to follow key safety measures that include:
• Require face coverings for all teachers and students K-12
• Limit the total number of students, staff and visitors within a school building to the extent necessary to ensure 6 feet distance can be maintained when students/staff will be stationary
• Conduct symptom screening, including temperature checks
• Establish a process and dedicated space for people who are ill to isolate and have transportation plans for ill students
• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in the school and transportation vehicles regularly
• Require frequent hand washing throughout the school day and provide hand sanitizer at entrances and in every classroom
• Discontinue activities that bring together large groups
• Limit nonessential visitors and activities involving external groups
• Discontinue use of self-service food or beverage distribution
In addition, schools are strongly recommended to follow additional safety measures that include:
• Designate hallways and entrance/exit doors as one-way
• Keep students and teachers in small groups that stay together as much as possible
• Have meals delivered to the classroom or have students bring food back to the classroom if social distancing is not possible in the cafeteria
• Discontinue activities that bring together large groups
• Place physical barriers such as plexiglass at reception desks and similar areas

More details can be found in the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit. Read the Screening Reference Guide for schools and the Infection Control and PPE Guidance.

In addition to the announcement about school plans, Governor Cooper shared that North Carolina will remain paused in Safer At Home Phase 2 after the current Executive Order expires on Friday, July 17.

“As we continue to see rising case numbers and hospitalizations, we will stay in Safer At Home Phase 2 for three more weeks,” said Governor Cooper. “Our re-opening priority is the school building doors, and in order for that to happen we have to work to stabilize our virus trends.”

School Groups on Today’s Public School Announcement
“While all school re-entry plans have their challenges during this pandemic, our superintendents, principals, and other school leaders will continue to prioritize student and staff safety in reopening schools under the cautious parameters outlined today by the Governor,” said North Carolina Association of School Administrators Executive Director Katherine Joyce. “We look forward to continuing work with the Governor, the General Assembly, and other state leaders to ensure our schools have the support needed to get student learning back on track in the safest manner possible in each local district.”

“I recognize Governor Cooper faced a very difficult decision. The good news is that local school boards can now begin to officially put their school reopening plans in motion,” said Brenda Stephens, President of the North Carolina School Board Association. “While the current situation may not be ideal for all, I’m confident North Carolina’s educators will continue to provide students with the best education possible.

Request for Proposals – Classification and Compensation Study and Benefits Survey

Pender County requests proposals for a Classification and Compensation Study and Benefits Survey.  Proposals are due Thursday, July 30th at 2:00 pm EST.  See complete RFP for all requirements.

As of June 16, 2020, Pender County Government had a total of 535 employees, (421 full-time and 114 regular part-time employees) under approximately 263 job classifications.  The County has one salary schedule consisting of 28 pay grades, each containing 20 steps within the grade.  A copy of the current salary schedule is included as Attachment A.  Attachment B is the Pay & Classification Plan and Attachment C is relevant policies related to the County’s classification plan, pay plan.

A thorough classification and compensation study and analysis of the County and those organizations that draw on a shared labor market will indicate the County’s current position and its ability now and in the future to recruit and retain talented employees to provide quality services to Pender County.  It is expected that the study will determine what actions should be taken, if any, to avoid loss of qualified staff and difficulties in recruiting new employees for County employment, while competitively compensating current employees.  In addition, it is expected that the study will recommend adjustments to the County’s current pay plan and salary structure, incluRFP Salary Study 2020
ding variable/incentive pay options, to allow appropriate compensation, to account for individual employee’s service/special achievements, or to rectify compression/equity issues and a total compensation comparison.

Pender Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees Endorse Recommendation to Partner with Novant Health, UNC Health, and UNC School of Medicine

BURGAW, NC – The Pender Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees has endorsed a recommendation for New Hanover Regional Medical Center to form a partnership with Novant Health, an agreement that would also lead to an expanded relationship with UNC Health and UNC School of Medicine.

At their meeting on July 10, 2020, the PMH Board of Trustees voted to endorse the recommendation from the NHRMC Partnership Advisory Group, which also earned the support of the NHRMC Board of Trustees on July 7, 2020.

“Our community went through similar discussions 21 years ago when we asked how we could best provide healthcare to our residents. We wisely decided to partner with NHRMC, which has strengthened our hospital and improved the healthcare in our county,” said Sonny Davis, chair of the PMH Board of Trustees. “We trust NHRMC to make the right decisions to benefit Pender County, and we are excited about all a partnership with Novant Health and an expanded relationship with UNC could bring to our region.”

Two PMH Trustees, David Williams and Barb Biehner, served on the 21-member Partnership Advisory Group, which made a unanimous recommendation after nine months of evaluation.

“I am proud to support this partnership with Novant Health and UNC because it will transform healthcare throughout the region while ensuring we can continue to offer care that’s needed locally as our population grows,” said David Williams, who is also a Pender County Commissioner and represents PMH on the NHRMC Board of Trustees.

“As physicians, we always want the best for our patients – the best care and the best outcomes,” said Dr. Heather Davis, who serves as chief of PMH’s medical staff. “I am recommending this partnership because I want the best for Pender Memorial and all our patients.”

The Partnership Advisory Group’s recommendation, with the endorsement of the NHRMC Board of Trustees, will go to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners at its meeting on July 13. If the Commissioners approve the recommendation, NHRMC and New Hanover County will execute a letter of intent with Novant Health and move toward a definitive agreement, which would be made public for further review and comment before any final decision is made.

Proposals and meeting information are available online at www.nhrmcfuture.org.

Public comment accepted through Aug. 10 regarding Chemours permit to keep PFAS from the Cape Fear River

Community response accepted regarding Chemours permit to keep PFAS out of Cape Fear River

RALEIGH – The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking public comment on a draft discharge permit for a water treatment system at the Chemours Fayetteville Works site to remove PFAS contamination. Chemours is required under the terms of paragraph 12(e) of the Consent Order to reduce by at least 99% PFAS in the groundwater flowing from the site through Old Outfall 002 into the Cape Fear River and downstream intakes.

The treatment system must be operational by September 30, 2020, according to the Consent Order. The system will treat groundwater that currently discharges without treatment into the river, and it is not designed for process wastewater from the facility. Since 2017, Chemours has been prohibited from discharging process wastewater into the Cape Fear River.

DEQ will accept public comment through August 10, 2020. Comment may be submitted via email to publiccomments@ncdenr.gov (please include “Chemours” in the subject line), or by mail to:

Wastewater Permitting
Attn: Chemours Permit
1617 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C., 27699-1617

The draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and factsheet are available online.

The February 2019 Consent Order and related documents are available online at: https://deq.nc.gov/ChemoursConsentOrder.

Warm weather, recent rains bring mosquitoes and potential for diseases

Pender County Health Department Urges Residents to Take Precautions

The Pender County Health Department is encouraging residents to take the necessary precautions to prevent mosquito bites because recent weather conditions have created an environment for mosquitoes to thrive. Mosquitoes carry diseases such as the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV).

To prevent mosquito bites, it’s important to remember to Tip, Toss and Cover.

Once a week:
TIP CONTAINERS– drain standing water from garbage cans, pet bowls, birdbaths, flower pots, gutters, pool covers or any other container that has collected standing water. Mosquitoes lay eggs in standing water.
TOSS– old tires, drums, bottles and other outdoor items that are outside and are not being used.
EMPTY AND SCRUB-birdbaths and pet’s water bowls at least once or twice a week.
Once a month:
MAINTAIN– apply a larvicide to standing water that cannot be emptied or drained. Larvicides can be found at home improvement and hardware stores.
Cover yourself with:
CLOTHING: Wear long, loose, and light- colored clothing and shoes and socks.
REPELLENT: Apply mosquito repellent to bare skin and clothing. Always use repellents according to the label.

“We have been educating the public to help stop mosquitoes from living and multiplying around their homes and business” says Benjamin Kane, who heads up the mosquito control program for Pender

Contact Pender County Health Department’s Mosquito and Vector Control Hotline at 910-259-1326 for more information or visit their website.

July 4th safety message from Pender County’s first responders

BURGAW – With so many communities canceling firework displays, residents may be tempted to host their own July 4th celebration with store-bought fireworks. In North Carolina, fireworks that do not fly or explode are legal.

“If you plan on having fireworks only Safe and Sane fireworks are legal in North Carolina,” said Alan W. Cutler, Pender County Sheriff.

Fireworks classified as Safe and Sane include sparklers, fountains, smoke devices, snake and glow worms, party poopers or snappers.

“Fireworks are beautiful, but they can be a recipe for serious burns and injuries,” warns Woody Sullivan, Pender EMS & Fire Chief. “No one under the age of 16 years old should handle a firework unsupervised.”

Each year, fireworks are linked to a few deaths and thousands of injuries as well as causing wildfires.

“Enjoy the 4th of July weekend with family and friends and please leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Fire Marshal and Assist Emergency Management Director. “Thousands of people are injured each year and many accidental fires are started from consumer fireworks.”

“The most dangerous illegal fireworks include explosive or aerial fireworks and Roman candles,” said Carson Smith, Pender County Emergency Manager Director. “These are unpredictable explosives.”

Smith reminds residents that all fireworks require extreme caution, including sparklers.

Sullivan said sparklers burn at a temperature of around 2000 degrees, which can cause third-degree burns.

“Children should never handle sparklers without parent supervision,” said Sullivan. “Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing and often burn the feet of children who drop a sparkler.”

Smith also reminds residents, if fireworks are exploding in a neighborhood, remember to secure your pet. Animals are often frightened by the loud noises. Pets tend to run away from the loud noises.

“Please be mindful of people and animals during this holiday weekend,” said Cutler.

Another summer concern is water safety. Pender County’s emergency responders remind us to swim in a supervised, marked area with a lifeguard present if available, and swim with others, never swim alone.

“Sadly, most deaths from drowning occur within a few feet of safety,” said Cutler.

Pender County, as with many beach communities, has experienced rip currents. If you are caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can’t swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

Pender County Sheriff Alan Cutler, Pender County Emergency Management, and Pender County EMS & Fire personnel wish you a safe and Happy 4th of July but urge caution when participating in all summer activities.

Read the state’s toolkit of options for schools’ re-opening

Parents of school-age children are wondering what the 2020-2021 school year will hold for their children amidst a pandemic. The state has released a toolkit of options that district may consider. The entire toolkit is available to read here.

Governor Cooper announced on Wednesday that North Carolina will continue working with schools to prepare to re-open safely for in-person instruction. Schools were asked to create plans based on the criteria and scenarios in the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit, which laid out essential health practices.

“We want to get our students back in the classroom, and we want to make sure we get this right. My number one opening priority is classroom doors,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “We encourage our public schools to continue planning, with a special focus on how teachers, staff, and students can best be protected – especially those who are high-risk.”

To help schools prepare, the state distributed supplies of personal protective equipment to schools across the state for use in the upcoming school year. The North Carolina National Guard and other contracted shipping services will continue delivering PPE Starter Pack supplies to the 116 public school systems and 203 alternative schools.

Strong-Schools-NC-Public-Health-Toolkit

 

System Pressure Advisory Rescended

Pender County Utilities issued a Pressure Advisory on June 26, 2020 System Pressure Advisory issued to its water customers along US Highway 117 South in Rocky Point and all side roads and neighborhoods off US Highway 117 South from Rocky Point Elementary Road to Strawberry Lane.

Bacteriological analysis results of drinking water samples collected after completion of the water system repair on Friday June 26th show no coliform bacteria present.

The system has resumed normal operations, and you may use the water without boiling.

Additional flushing was performed in this area on Friday to help remove trapped air and any loose sediment from the repairs. Please, remove and clean strainers on faucets in your house to also remove potential debris,

The system pressure advisory is hereby rescinded today, June 27, 2020.

Thank you.

Virtual meeting open houses with the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

Important notice from our planning department

To complete the final review of the draft metropolitan transportation plan, Cape Fear Moving Forward 2045, the Wilmington Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization will host three virtual public open houses on the evenings of July 6, 7, and July 8.

The plan includes an evaluation of potential aviation, bicycle and pedestrian, ferry and water transportation, freight and freight rail, public transportation, and roadway projects to meet the needs of the region over the next 25 years.

The plan area includes Hampstead, Rocky Point, and other areas of southern Pender County along with New Hanover County and portions of Brunswick County.

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://zoom.us/j/99307333187…

Meeting ID: 993 0733 3187
Password: MTP2045
Or by phone, dial:
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) or
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 993 0733 3187
Password: 056526

Zoom in for any one of the three virtual meetings:
Monday, July 6, 2020
5:00pm – 7:00pm

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
5:00pm – 7:00pm

Wednesday, July 8, 2020
5:00pm – 7:00pm

Phase2-PressRelease-VirtualOpenHouses
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