December 2020

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Board of Education votes to resume additional high school athletics

The Durham Public Schools Board of Education voted 4 to 3 during Thursday night’s work session to reconsider their previous vote and authorized the beginning of practice and conditioning for several sports.

The board approved the beginning of practice for basketball and cheerleading and will allow conditioning to begin for men's soccer, men's and women's lacrosse, and football.

To see the phased schedule for reopening, click here.

This decision comes after the North Carolina High School Athletic Association authorized the return to athletics competition under carefully controlled circumstances. With input from athletic directors, coaches, and principals, the DPS Athletics Comprehensive Re-Opening Plan was developed to provide a safe and healthy environment for student-athletes while pursuing their academic goals at home.

The plan accounts for the possibility of a COVID-19 resurgence and for risks or overtraining and injury due to a rapid return to play. All state and local restrictions and guidelines will be followed, and safety measures will be taken including personal protective equipment (PPE) being worn, reduced transportation capacity, daily health screenings, frequent cleaning and disinfecting of equipment and spaces, and reduced capacity of facilities. Locker rooms will be closed in the early phases and training rooms are closed until further notice. The plan restricts non-conference games to border counties.

During the beginning phases, no fans will be allowed at indoor or outdoor events. If and when fans are allowed to attend events, tickets will be distributed online and in person, there will be separate entries and exits, six-foot social distancing markers will be placed in spectator seating areas and at entries, and masks will be required.

Board of Education votes to adopt adjusted grading scale for required final exams

The Durham Public Schools Board of Education voted in favor of adopting a grading scale of 90-100 for state-required End-of-Course and Career-Technical Education exams during Thursday night's work session.

This would be in effect for the 2020-21 school year, including the assessments scheduled to be conducted in December and January as well as at the end of the year.

“The State Board of Education has given our Board the authority to weigh our final exam scores differently during this pandemic,” said DPS Board chair Bettina Umstead. “We wanted to send a message to our families that we hear their concerns, and to the state board and federal Department of Education that local districts need more flexibility regarding testing during this pandemic. We expect our students to continue to do excellent work with the support of their teachers all year long; that is what will drive their final grades in their classes.”

The state still requires students to take state assessments in person during the 2020-21 school year. The window for making up first-semester exams is through Feb. 15, 2021. Students who do not make up the exam by this date will receive an incomplete score on Jan. 28 and will be given opportunities in the spring to complete the exam.

DPS’s students’ and staff’s safety are the district’s highest priority. DPS has already put in place specific cleaning measures and other steps to ensure the health and well-being of all school-based staff and students and will maintain safer social distancing during testing.

This decision only affects state assessments (EOC and CTE), not teacher-given final exams.

Although the final exam grade will be no less than a 90, students’ actual performance on the exams must still be recorded and included in the student’s education record. The final exam grade of 90-100 will show up on the report card, but not on the official transcript. The final exam grade of 90-100 will count as 20 percent of the student’s final grade; the remaining 80 percent will reflect the student’s work in the class.

#WeAreDPS | Message from the District | December 11, 2020


About Durham Public Schools

Our school district is one of the top 10 largest in the state, serving more than 32,000 students in both the city and county of Durham. Durham is on an upward trend, recognized all over as one of the hot spots in the south -- from food to history to music to education -- more and more people are learning what those of us here already know: Durham is the place to be!