Thousands of Wake students return to school Monday
Posted February 14, 2021 9:35 p.m. EST
Updated February 15, 2021 9:05 a.m. EST
Cary, N.C. — Thousands of modified calendar and year-round Wake County students will return to in-person classes on Monday, some after nearly a year away.
Students in kindergarten through third grade who are not enrolled in Virtual Academy will resume learning in-person daily, and students in fourth through eighth grades not who are not in the district's Virtual Academy will attend classes in three-week rotations to ensure more social distancing.
School leaders say safety is top of mind, but not all parents and teachers are convinced this will work.
Brian Groesser, a Wake County parent of third, sixth and ninth graders, is relieved his kids are heading back.
"It's just good to get them all back," Groesser said. "It's a start. I feel really good for my youngest that she can be back and be back full time, and get the learning that I think she really needs."
A teacher who wanted to be only identified as Crystal worries for her own safety and the safety of her sixth-grade students.
"I think it's a mistake," she said. "Prior to opening, anyone can see this is not going to work without causing people to get sick."
School leaders say the district will follow CDC guidelines, ensuring people wear masks, wash hands, maintain distance, and have hand sanitizer and wipes in class.
New lunch rules will also apply for students, including a timed 20-minute lunch break, social distancing and no talking while masks are removed. Some students will eat in classrooms to create more space in the cafeterias, and in high schools, off-campus lunch will not be allowed.
WRAL News asked viewers on Facebook page how they feel about a return to class and received a mixed response.
One parent chimed in saying, “Very excited! Mental health is so often ignored in kids.”
Under her comment, another parent says, “My children won’t be returning. I work in healthcare and the risk is not worth it.”
Groesser is confident a return to the classroom will work throughout Wake County.
"If we take it on a school-by-school basis; if one school is having issues, then yeah, close that school down and allow them to take care of those issues, but don't shut the whole county down," he said.
Students on traditional calendars will return to in-person classes on Wednesday if they are not enrolled in Virtual Academy. Full calendars can be found here.