As some students return to schools, some Wake County parents frustrated by increasing virtual class sizes

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As some Wake County School students headed back to class Monday, many more remain online. Some of those parents said they saw the size of those online classes double or even triple.

“It just sort of frustrates me,” Kristan Walker said.

Walker signed her 5year old daughter up for Wake County’s virtual academy. She said she wanted her to have consistency.

“I felt we were getting the hang of it. You know, after the first few weeks where she’s able to sort of respond and she knows how to mute and unmute,” she explained.

Then the number of students in her kindergarten class jumped from 20 to 30.

“She doesn’t get any sort of recognition from the teachers. There’s a lot going on,” Walker said. “I want her to be able to engage with the teachers and I just don’t feel that’s happening.”

Courtney Carroll told a similar story. Her daughter is also 5 and in kindergarten. She opted for Plan B, a mix of in-person and online learning. Carroll said her daughter won’t return to class until the second week in November. She called Monday frustrating.

“They changed her over to a new teacher who she did not know. And into a class, brand new students,” Carroll said.

She explained when they brought the first group of students back, they likely combined three virtual classes. Her daughter went from one of 13 to one of 29.

“She turned around and looked at me and she goes, ‘I’m left out. They’re not calling on me,'” Carroll said.

While state law limits class size in kindergarten through third grade to 24 students, the Wake County School Board Chairman Keith Sutton said that cap doesn’t apply to virtual classes.

At a meeting Monday evening, Wake County Public School officials urged patience. They said they were still working things out, school by school, course by course.

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