Parents react after Wake County school leaders OK return to remote learning

COVID-19 and schools

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) — Wake County Public School System will end the fall semester with all-remote learning.

The Wake County Board of Education voted Tuesday night to approve a two-week pause on in-person instruction after winter break. 

“I want to do what’s safe,” Christina Brunk, a parent said.

Brunk, a parent with two children in Wake County schools, admits the district is in a tough spot. 

“I’ve learned to just roll with whatever they decide,” she said.

The pause will take effect Jan. 4 and run through Jan. 15. 

For hours, the school board members discussed the proposal that was first presented by administrators at a special meeting Monday.

They said staffing drove the decision.

Administrators reported that 194 teachers were out sick on an average day in October and that 85% of subs were available. But, last week the numbers were worse — when 494 teachers were out each day, but only 64% of subs were free to help fill slots.

“These numbers will continue to go up. We can expect to see that,” Wake County Public School System Superintendent Cathy Moore said.

According to the district’s latest information, between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9, there were 80 new COVID-19 cases. But many more staff members are in quarantine, further complicating the issue. 

“They need to do something because between the pandemic and the kids are just struggling, just trying to learn and everything,” parent Jose Bonilla said.

“It’ll inevitably get extended especially since the two-week period will happen right after the holidays when everyone will have been not socially distancing or around people,” Brunk said. 

School district officials stressed there is an end date on the pause.

They said this would put the district in a better position to start the spring semester, which for most students begins Jan. 20. 

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