Wake schools ready back-to-classrooms plans
Posted February 10, 2021 9:13 a.m. EST
Updated February 10, 2021 7:59 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — With less than a week until thousands of Wake County public school students return to classrooms – some for the first time in almost a year – schools are finalizing their plans to keep everyone safe from coronavirus.
Last week, the Wake County Board of Education approved a return to schools beginning Feb. 15. Under the plan, pre-kindergarten through third-grade students return for in-person learning daily, while students in the fourth through 12th grades will be split into three groups that will rotate through one week in the classroom and two weeks online.
District precautions for reopening include daily temperature and symptom checks, mask and face covering requirements, disinfecting supplies in classrooms, altered lunches, hand sanitizing stations and social distancing.
"It’s not going to be school like they know it," said Stephen Mares, principal of Athens Drive Magnet High School in Raleigh.
Hallways in Mares' school are divided into two one-way directions for students and staff to move. Lockers have been zip-tied shut, and bathrooms are limited to two people at a time.
At lunch, students will be separated by 6 feet, and they’ll all face the same direction. Some students will eat in classrooms, while others eat in the cafeteria.
Mares said an outdoor courtyard will let students have a mask break after lunch.
Athens Drive High has about 2,000 students, but about half of them are sticking with the district's Virtual Academy of online classes for the spring semester. Those returning to the school will be split into three cohorts of about 350 students each for the three-week rotation.
Wake County Public School System administrators say 52 percent of the district's 161,000 students will return to class. Only at the middle school level is the number of students in the Virtual Academy higher than those opting for in-person learning.
Most classes at Athens Drive High will have five or fewer students, Mares said, and teachers will have to conduct them simultaneously online and in person.
"I run a two-computer system so, no matter which camera is looking at me, you can always see me,” math teacher Chris Remaley said. "I want to make sure what we are doing in-person is the same thing for those who are plugged in remotely."
Remaley said remote learning has been hard on many students.
"I really feel like we need to get back in-person so we can rebuilding relationships and connecting with kids," he said. "I know it’s important to teach stuff, but I also realize teaching is so much more than just teaching them 2+2=4."
Information from school district websites and social media pages, and from school district representatives reached through email. Search below for your district.
|District||Learning plan||Board decision|
|Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools||Online||Children of families (who chose the in-person/remote hybrid option) in Pre-K through Grade 2, Grade 6, Grade 9, and students who access Exceptional Children programs can return to classrooms in the week of April 19 with Grades 3-5, 7-8, and 10-12 returning the following week, April 26.|
|Chatham County schools||Hybrid||Students in PreK-8th grade are learning under a mix of in-person and online classes. High school students began hybrid learning on Feb. 1.|
|Cumberland County Schools||Online||Cumberland County Schools (CCS) students on the traditional and early college calendars will transition to Plan B (a combination of in-person and virtual learning) on March 15. Students attending year-round schools will transition to Plan B on April 12, following the intersession.|
|Duplin County Schools||Online||In-person learning (Plan A) will begin for Pre-K through grade 5 on March 15. Students will attend school Monday through Thursday with Friday's remaining a 100% Remote Instruction/Mandatory Teacher Workday. Parents may continue to choose what is best for their child including in-person learning or 100% remote instruction.|
|Durham Public Schools||Online||Durham is awaiting the outcome of the legislative debate to set a timeline for a return to the classroom.|
|Edgecombe County Schools||Hybrid||Students who selected to receive in-person instruction returned to our school campuses on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 in Plan B. We are also offering virtual instruction for students who selected that option.|
|Franklin County Schools||Hybrid||Students are learning in two groups. Group A is in the classroom Monday and Tuesday, learns remotely on Thursday and Friday. Group B learns online Monday, Tuesday and in person on Thursday, Friday. All students have self-paced assignments to complete, remotely, on Wednesdays.|
|Granville County Public School||Hybrid||Students are divided into two groups. Group A will attend school on Mondays and Tuesdays, and group B will attend schools on Thursdays and Fridays. Both groups would attend school virtually for the other three days they are not physically in school.|
|Halifax County Schools||Online||The school district has remained in remote learning.|
|Harnett County Schools||Hybrid||Grades K-5 attend in-person five days per week. Grades 6-12 are separated into two groups. Groups attend in-person on alternate days.|
|Hoke County schools||Hybrid||Elementary students can choose from Plan A: four days of in-person classes, with remote learning on Friday; or Plan C: attend class via Hoke County Schools Online remote learning only. Middle and high school students have a choice between Plan B or Plan C for the spring semester.|
|Johnston County Schools||Hybrid||Pre-K- 5th learn in-person four days per week, beginning on Monday, March. 1. Other grades (6-12) will remain on Plan B.|
|Lee County Schools||Hybrid||High school students who chose Plan B in a January survey will return to the classroom under an alternating A/B schedule beginning March 1. At the elementary level, third-grade students and exceptional students in grades 4 and 5 who are currently attending in-person classes will be allowed to attend four days a week beginning February 22. All other instructional plans will stay in place. Remote classes remain an option for all students.|
|Moore County Schools||Hybrid||K-5 students attend in-person five days a week. Students in grades 6-12 will remain in Plan B, with some online and some in-person learning. Preschool students attend school all five days.|
|Nash County Public Schools||Hybrid||All students on Plan B starting March 1st, with an option to remain remote. TRACK # 1: Remote Fridays on-site weeks 1, 3, 5 and remote weeks 2, 4, 6 TRACK # 2: Remote Fridays on-site weeks 2, 4, 6 and remote weeks 1, 3, 5|
|Northampton County Schools||Online||High School and Early College will learn remotely until March 10. Elementary and Middle School students will learn remotely until March 26.|
|Orange County Schools||Online||Students will return to the classroom in two groups: Group A March 8 and Group B March 15. Monday through Thursday, one group learns in person, the other online. Friday is an remote learning day for all students.|
|Person County Schools||Hybrid||We have been in-person since August 17th. Of course we have a virtual option and our middle and high school students are in hybrid (attend face-to-face two days a week). Elementary school students attend every day.|
|Sampson County Schools||Hybrid||Students returned to hybrid learning, divided into groups. Cohort A will attend Monday/Tuesday and Cohort B will attend Thursday/Friday. Wednesday will be a remote learning day.|
|Roanoke Rapids Graded District School Board||In Person||Pre-K through 5th grade will return to the classroom five days per week Grades 6 to 8 will attend five days a week on alternating weeks in two cohorts. Grades 9 through 12 will be divided into two cohorts with Cohort A attending in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays and Cohort B attending in-person on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays would be a virtual day for all students.|
|Public Schools of Robeson County||In Person||Pre-K-12th grade students can return to their respective schools for in-person learning no later than March 1.|
|Vance County Schools||Hybrid||Students will return to the classroom on March 1 with a hybrid schedule -- some days in person, some days virtual|
|Wake County Public Schools||Hybrid||Pre-kindergarten through third grade students learn in-person daily; 4th through 12th grades are in classrooms on rotation.|
|Wayne County Schools||Hybrid||All schools are operating in Plan B and offer a 100% Virtual Learning Program option. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will not transition to Plan A/ in-person until March 15.|
|Warren County Schools||Online||All students will remain in remote learning through February and some of March. The board will revisit their plan during their work session on March 9.|
|Wilson County Schools||Hybrid||Elementary students are in school buildings four days a week; middle school students and early college students are in the building two days a week; and high school students one day a week|
|Fort Bragg Schools||In-Person|
Kris Lee, whose children attend Apex High School and Apex Middle School, pushed for schools to reopen last fall and is pleased that it's finally happening. Still, she said, some of the modifications schools made to resume classes are too strict.
"There’s just a lot of rules to the point that I think are unhealthy," Lee said. "Our kids are not robots. They are human beings with human social and emotional needs."
Maggie Howard, a sophomore at Sanderson High School, said she's excited to get back to school.
"I think high schoolers can be smarter than people give them credit for, and I think we’re all excited enough to go back that we’re going to follow precautions and not want to mess anything up," she said.
Maggie said she got so lonely during her 11 months of remote learning that she wrote a song about the ordeal that brought her mother to tears.
"Going through this has really opened my eyes to how much we really need to be around other people," Maggie said. "I love my family but being trapped with them for a good amount of time was difficult."
Maggie has done well academically during remote learning, said her mother, Mandy Howard, but the months out of school have been hard emotionally.
"It’s been hard for her to be able to talk about classes and what she misses with us because we are also stressed and she doesn’t want to place that guilt or that stress on to us. So, she holds even more in then she lets us know about," Howard said.
She said she's ready for her daughter to return to school.
"It’s worth taking this risk for our community," she said.
Modified and year-round calendar schools will reopen Feb. 15, and traditional calendar schools will reopen Feb. 17, following a teacher work day.