Wayne County students return to school Tuesday, but some teachers say more time is needed

COVID-19 and schools

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — Students return to the classroom Tuesday in Wayne County, but several teachers say they are not prepared.

About two dozen teachers gathered Monday for a “Labor of Love” rally, to push the Wayne County Board of Education for more time before returning to the classroom.

“At the end of the day we’re the ones that control the classrooms, the buses, the cafeteria.  If we are struggling and saying we need more time, then they have to give it,” said Wayne County Education Association President Tiffany Kilgore.

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Starting Tuesday Wayne County Public Schools will begin plan ‘B,’ a mixture of in-person and online learning.  The first three weeks of the school year was held entirely remotely.

Kilgore says the education association supports the plan ‘B’ hybrid plan, but doesn’t think teachers are adequatley prepared.

Kilgore, who couldn’t attend the rally because she’s battling COVID-19, says teachers are concerned about safety and using the new virtual learning technology.

Kilgore, a music teacher, will have 100 percent virtual instruction.

“How can we teach our students how to use a program when we are struggling ourselves?” she said.

Spring Creek High School teacher Svetlana Beamon will have six to nine students in her classroom starting Tuesday, while also teaching students in virtual classrooms.

“As an educator I want to be there for all of them.  I want to give 100 percent.  Whereas right now I’m feeling, a lot of us are feeling, we’re being pushed in different directions,” she said.

Beamon says she’s using a different program for online learning than she did last spring, and is concerned she hasn’t had enough time to familiarize herself with it.

“I’ve spent majority of the summer on webinars learning how to teach virtually, remotely and hybrid. That’s my off time. It’s not for lack of trying,” she said.

Beamon says she’s been given cleaning supplies by the district, but is currently sharing it with other teachers. She says there’s been no guidance on when or how to use the supplies.

“That right there is extremely worrisome, and extremely scary.  That without proper preparations we’re going to cause an outbreak,” said Kilgore.

Kilgore says teachers and administrators asked school leaders for three more weeks to prepare for in-person learning, but were denied.

CBS17 reached out to the Board of Education and the superintendent, but has not heard back.

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