Wake County Schools

'Welcome home': Thousands of Wake students return to classrooms after almost a year away

Posted February 16, 2021 10:34 p.m. EST
Updated February 17, 2021 1:58 p.m. EST

— Wednesday is a big day for thousands of Wake County students, because after months of remote learning, it's finally time to go back to the classroom.

As some students on the traditional calendar make their way back to class on Wednesday for the first time in nearly a year, some high schoolers are expressing both excitement and hesitation about returning.

At Millbrook High School in Raleigh, teachers were waiting outside holding signs that said, "Welcome home."

'Welcome home' freshmen

"I can't believe it, it feels like I've been waiting forever for this moment," said Apex High School junior Emma Fornes.

Fornes joins other high school students in Wake County who finally get the chance to learn in class since the school year began. Students who are enrolled in the district's Virtual Academy will continue learning from home.

"I've missed my teachers the most," Fornes said. "It's just so hard to see their faces from a computer. I just miss face to face interaction."

Broughton High School student Jordon Adams says things will definitely have a different feel.

"It's something about being next to the teacher that's just different," Adams said.

Adams says he prefers learning in-person, but also worries about contracting COVID-19 being around other people.

"I might be protecting myself, but some way I still might get it," he said.

The night before their return, the Wake County School Board approved changing this semester’s schedule by adding three additional asynchronous days. The vote was 8-1 in favor.

The learning day is when students don’t have in-person classes or live online classes.

It’s an effort to allow teachers more planning time and to relieve stress and fatigue from hours of online learning. Fornes is all for it.

"It's just a mental health day," she explained. "We all need that during these times. It can be very mentally draining, especially for teachers and students sitting on a computer for eight hours."

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