Wake County Schools

Thousands more Wake K-5 students return to in-person learning

Posted November 16, 2020 5:27 a.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2020 2:35 p.m. EST

— Tens of thousands of Wake County students return to in-person learning on Monday as coronavirus cases in the state hit records highs.

Students in kindergarten through third grade who didn't opt to stay in Virtual Academy and all regional programs will resume full-time, in-person learning Monday. They’ll be joined by some fourth- and fifth-graders who will be back on campus for the first time on a three-week rotation mixing in-person and online classes.

On Friday, the district emailed parents about the increase in students as many schools move to full-time in-person learning. Due to the increase, students in K-3 classrooms are no longer expected to maintain 6 feet of social distance, although other safety protocols will continue.

Last week, nearly 30 people in the Wake County district tested positive for the coronavirus. School board chair Keith Sutton said officials are monitoring the numbers and acting accordingly.

"We know that, as long as there is COVID-19 in the community, there is going to be COVID-19 in schools," Sutton said. "Our main focus is to minimize the spread once we determine there has been a positive case in a particular group."

Middle schoolers in Wake County also returned to class on a rotating basis last week. High school students will remain in virtual learning for the rest of the semester.

On Tuesday, the school board will vote on plans to determine what the next semester will look like.

Even as coronavirus cases reach new highs in North Carolina, most school districts have adopted some form of in-person learning. Earlier this month, state health officials said there is no evidence that opening public schools has contributed to the recent rise in coronavirus cases across the state.

Still, other states have closed schools to in-person learning as virus cases grow across the country.

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