Wake County Schools leaders ask for ‘patience and understanding’ as year begins

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County Public School System leaders are asking for “patience and understanding” as a new school year begins.

Many students will begin online learning on Monday, while others started in their virtual classrooms this week.

“Many of our staff have been working quite literally day and night and many weekends to pull off a small miracle. Opening school in a nearly 100 percent virtual environment to ensure the safety of our staff and our students,” said WCPSS Superintendent Cathy Moore.

Moore said the bar is higher for online learning this fall than compared to when the COVID19 crisis began.

She says families can expect more assessments, grading, and progress monitoring that wasn’t required or in place last spring.

“This will be school as we know it for the time being. As such, expectations for participation and attendance will be as if students are attending school in person,” said Moore.

WCPSS parent Tenisha Barnes says her children start online learning Monday.

They plan on participating in the Virtual Academy for at least the first semester, while other families are opting to return to classrooms in October as part of WCPSS’ Plan “B” Transition Program.

“We’re going to have to adjust to make sure we stay on track from a study standpoint. Checking in, doing these virtual meetings, staying on top of her home work, but still trying to give her a sense of normalcy,” she said of her daughter who is starting sixth grade.

Barnes will work from home to help her second grade son with the transition to online learning.

“I’m going to set it up just like if he was in his classroom. He’s going to have his weekly folders. He’s going to have all his pens and supplies right there so he’s not up running around and looking for stuff,” she said.

On Friday, WCPSS leaders said some parents and students are already raising concerns.

Moore said the WCPSS received requests for 38,000 devices and 10,000 hot spots so students could connect to their virtual classroom.

However, Moore says many families have not received those devices yet and likely will not in time for the first day or week of school.

Five high schools are set up as distribution sites. Moore says hundreds of staff and volunteers are working to hand out the devices, but families should wait until they are contacted by WCPSS to pick them up.

“We ask for patience and understanding as we work through this. It is imperative that ongoing and fluid communication happens between and among students, parents and schools,” she said.

The first two weeks of the school year will be an orientation. Moore said attendance will count, but teachers will find other ways to engage students who have not received their devices.

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