Wake County Schools

Wake leaders continue discussion about reopening schools Oct. 26

Posted September 15, 2020 7:52 p.m. EDT
Updated September 23, 2020 5:39 a.m. EDT

— On Wednesday afternoon, the Wake County Board of Education will discuss plans to get students back in the classroom in October.

Wake County students have been in online learning since Aug. 17, the first day of school. Families who opted for all-virtual learning can continue learning from home, but elementary school parents who signed up for Plan B, a mix of online and in-person instruction, could see their children back in school next month.

Wake County is considering several rotations for K-5 students, including one week in person and two weeks virtual, a two week rotation that rotates kids every other week, or a third option that allows some grades to attend class every day in person while other grades stay remote.

The district plans to reopen schools Oct. 26. The final plan will be brought to the board for approval next week.

Last week, members of the Wake County Board of Education discussed reopening plans for the county. Superintendent Cathy Moore presented four different reopening scenarios for students returning to in-person ranging from all grade levels to only some grade levels returning.

  • PreK-7 regional programs in person, grades 6-12 remote only
  • PreK-2 regional programs, grade 6, grade 9 in person, grades 3-5, grades 7-8, grades 10-12 remote only
  • PreK-2 regional programs in person, grades 3-12 remote only
  • PreK-12 in person, no grades remote only

Moore also presented three different options for scheduling classes:

  • Three week rotation: 1 week of in-person learning, 2 weeks of remote learning
  • Two week rotation: 1 week of in-person learning, 1 week of remote learning
  • No rotation: Students not enrolled in Virtual Academy attend in-person classes every day

After more than five hours of discussion, the board said it would meet again for another work session Sept. 23 to figure out how to move forward and which plan works best. The school system also sent out a letter to parents, students and staff updating them about the meeting.

Tuesday's presentation stated that the school system's Virtual Academy would continue to operate through the 2020-2021 school year, regardless of what scenario the school decided to reopen with. As of July, about half of the district's students were signed up for Virtual Academy.

Moore said a large majority of schools have more than half of staff on campus. Principals have been providing feedback to superintendents about how much staff has been coming back into the building.

All required and recommended personal protective equipment has also been received and distributed to schools. Supplies includes face coverings, hand sanitizer, touch less thermometers and other PPE.

The district would use the transportation plan that was approved for Plan B, which would be a mix of online and in-person classes. Moore said bus drivers have already been practicing the routes approved for transportation under Plan B.

As teachers return back to in-person classes, Moore said the district would need to examine how child supervision for teachers would have to change.

On Aug. 14, a spokesperson with the school district said students would be returning to school "no sooner than after the first quarter." The second quarter begins on Oct. 22. The district originally planned to have students return on Sep. 8 when it voted for all students to start the school year online.

On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Phil Berger and a group of parents will push for in-person classes to start earlier at the legislative building in downtown Raleigh.

Based on feedback from parents, several families are on-board with moving to Plan B in October.

The district is asking for feedback from parents before they present a plan for approval to the board in the next two to three weeks.

Nothing will change for those enrolled in Virtual Academy for this semester.

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