All Wake students to remain in remote learning until mid-February
Posted January 14, 2021 3:33 p.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2021 9:06 a.m. EST
Cary, N.C. — The Wake County Board of Education voted on Thursday afternoon to keep all students in remote learning until mid-February.
Wake County Public School System Superintendent Cathy Moore said staffing and safety concerns from rising coronavirus cases were their reason for recommending the move to remote learning.
"Our current review of data and community spread tells us, at this time, the current path is to remain remote for all students," Moore said during the meeting.
The average two-week percentage of positive cases in the district has increased to almost 11%, which Moore said was unsurprising because of the holiday season.
Moore added that since the start of the spring semester, school officials have received over 1,350 requests from parents of high schoolers to move to Virtual Academy.
Dina Wolstromer has a child in the Wake County school system, and believes this decision is the right one.
“I feel like it was a decision that was bound to be made," Wolstromer said. "Yes, would I like my kids face to face, of course. I feel they would do better face to face, but I don’t think putting people at risk is going to be the answer, either.”
Several concerns were brought up Thursday, including the lack of knowledge about when teachers will be vaccinated, the impact this is having on students' mental health, the lack of virtual-class participation and the overall safety of students and staff.
Monika Johnson-Hostler, Wake County school board member, voiced her concerns.
"Fear of the loss our students are having, but also the fear of people of being in that building and the loss of lives; the loss of teaching and learning,” Johnson-Hostler said.
All Wake County students moved to remote learning on Dec. 15 because of staffing shortages from teachers being told to quarantine due to possible coronavirus exposure. Board members then voted for all students to start the spring semester in remote-learning because of concerns over a surge in coronavirus cases from the holiday season.
The previous plan for spring semester was for for prekindergarten through fifth grade to remain in full-time instruction. Sixth through eighth graders remain in three-week rotations, with one week in the classroom and two weeks remote learning. Ninth through twelfth grades would move from remote only to similar three-week rotations.
Alyson Gaddis, a junior at Cary High School, says she's not too sure about a return any time soon.
“I feel like it’s going to be difficult for staff to keep everyone in line, so I really don’t trust it right now to go back, but I hope we can get to a point where we are able to,” Gaddis explained.
Durham Public Schools, by contrast, announced last week that all students would continue learning remotely through the end of the school year due to the rise in coronavirus cases.