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||In-person||Students in Pre-K through 2nd grade, 6th grade and 9th grade returned to in-person learning the week of April 19. Grades 3,4,5,7,8,10 and 12 returned the week of April 26|
|Chatham County schools||In-person||All students are learning in person four days per week as of April 19.|
|Cumberland County Schools||In-person||Cumberland County Schools to start Plan A on April 12 for grades Pre-K-12 grade four days a week; Wednesday will be an independent remote learning day.|
|Duplin County Schools||In-person||All grades returned to the classroom as of March 22. Students will attend school Monday through Thursday with Fridays 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||Hybrid||K-5 students returned to the classroom four days per week on March 15. On April 8, students in grades 6-12 returned for two days per week of in-person learning. Three groups of students in grades 6-12 rotate days in school and days learning at home.|
|Edgecombe County Schools||In-person||All students returned to the classroom on April 14, four days a week (Tuesday-Friday). Mondays will be a remote day.|
|Franklin County Schools||Hybrid||All students have the option of in-person learning four days per week. 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||In-person||Students in grades PK-5 returned to the classroom on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays on March 29, 2021. Students in grades 6-12 returned to in-person learning beginning April 19, 2021.|
|Halifax County Schools||In-person||All students have the option for full-time, in-person learning.|
|Harnett County Schools||In-person||All students are in the classroom five days per week|
|Hoke County schools||Hybrid||PreK-8 students have four days per week of in-person learning and remote learning on Fridays. High school students will remain in two cohorts, rotating in the classroom and at home.|
|Johnston County Schools||In-person||All grades moved to a four-day-a-week, in-person schedule on April 12.|
|Lee County Schools||In-person||All students are in the classroom four days per week effective April 12. Wednesdays are remote learning days for all grade levels.|
|Moore County Schools||In-person||All students are in the classroom full-time, five days per week.|
|Nash County Public Schools||In-person||Elementary students returned to in-person learning on March 29; and Middle and High school students on April 12. The remote learning on the Virtual Academy is still an option.|
|Northampton County Schools||In-person||All students are learning in person, five days a week.|
|Orange County Schools||Hybrid||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 17. 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||In-person||Students are in the classroom four days per week. Wednesday will be a remote learning day.|
|Roanoke Rapids Graded District School Board||In-person||All students returned to in-person learning, five days per week, beginning March 29.|
|Public Schools of Robeson County||In-person||Students in PreK-8th grades returned to the classroom four days per week on April 12.|
|Vance County Schools||In-person||Students in PreK-8 learn in person on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday is a remote learning day.|
|Wake County Public Schools||Hybrid||Pre-kindergarten through third grade students learn in-person daily; Grades 4-12 are on three-week rotations|
|Wayne County Schools||In-person||All grades, K-12, will meet 5 days a week for face-to-face instruction beginning March 29.|
|Warren County Schools||In-person||Grades PreK-2 returned to in-person learning March 15; Grades 3,6,9 returned March 22; Grades 4,7,10 returned April 6 and Grades 5,8,11,1 returned April 12|
|Wilson County Schools||In-person||All students attend school four days per week. Wednesday is a remote learning day.|
|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.