Harnett County teachers, students adapting to return to classrooms

COVID-19 and schools

LILLINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) – The start of the school year has involved online learning for districts across North Carolina. The doors are now open for Harnett County students to return to the classroom.

“I would say they had smiling faces, but they all had masks on,” said Superintendent Dr. Aaron Fleming.

“It’s been a learning experience for everyone,” added teacher Megan Keith.

After beginning the year online, teachers like Keith admitted it’s a challenge to incorporate more than 10,000 students into Harnett County Schools.

“It’s definitely easier to teach them in person because you’re right there with them,” Keith said. “Sometimes, with technology, I can’t always see what they’re seeing or doing on the iPad because they’re miles away at their house.”

Students are split into two groups with Group A in class on Monday and Tuesday, and Group B in class Thursday and Friday.

Masks are mandatory for all students returning to school.

“I don’t like it because you have to wear it for seven hours each day,” said Taylor Brown.

Students like Brown are being forced to adjust to a new normal that includes hard rules about using hand sanitizer, floors marked with directional arrows, and temperature checks every morning that even Fleming admits might not work.

“We know the reality is that a student or staff member will come up positive for COVID-19,” Fleming said.

Schools districtwide have designated quarantine rooms for students and staff, and will shut down if a cluster is identified.

“This has been a no-win situation, but we believe that our students need to be back in the building,” Fleming said.

Harnett County remains under Plan B until at least Oct. 23. At that point, the board will discuss the possibility of moving forward under Plan A.

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