The Lee County Board of Education reversed course on its reopening plan Thursday night, voting unanimously to go with a “Plan C” approach which will begin the 2020-2021 school year with an all virtual approach.

The vote, taken at a virtual meeting Thursday evening, follows and overturns a unanimous decision by the board on July 20 to open the district in August with a mixed approach which called for in person classes but allowed parents to opt into online classes for their children. The meeting was streamed to the public via YouTube.

Many of the board’s members voted for the approach to reopening schools with the provision that it be re-evaluated after six weeks of classes. Schools open again on Aug. 17.

Lee County Health Director Heath Cain and the district’s head nurse, Mary Hawley Oates, gave the board prior to the vote data regarding the spread of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. That data indicated that at the time of the July 20 vote, Lee County’s test positivity rate was in the seven percent range; as of Thursday that rate was above 13 percent. CDC guidelines recommend that schools continue virtual learning when their communities have a test positivity rate of more than 10 percent.

Read more about the school district’s approach to reopening in the upcoming edition of The Rant Monthly, which will be available on Aug. 3.