SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) — With COVID-19 numbers still high, some Johnston County teachers and parents are voicing concerns about the decision to return to Plan B.
As CBS 17 reported, the school board voted last week to move forward with the mix of in-person instruction and online learning.
“It’s the hardest thing we’ve ever done,” April Lee said.
Lee admits these last ten months have not been easy. She’s a teacher in the Johnston County School District for 20 years. She’s also the President of the Association of Educators and a parent.
“I have one who’s a rock star and I have one who has struggled. So as a parent I totally understand,” Lee explained.
Still, she said it’s just not safe to go to Plan B. It’s supposed to start here on Feb. 1, apply to K thru 12th graders. The classes are divided into two cohorts, each getting two days of in-person learning.
“Employees of Johnston County Public Schools must have access and the option to be fully vaccinated with both doses of the COVID vaccine before we return to face-to-face instruction,” Lee said.
Lee joining other parents and teachers, announcing three priorities. Vaccinations are first. The district administering 40 of them Tuesday to employees 65 years old and older. They said 2200 employees want one and 560 of them are between 50 and 64 years old. But the county just doesn’t have them.
“Our teachers live by a code of ethics to keep our children safe. We owe them the same in return,” Martha Andre, a parent said.
The Association of Educators is also calling on the district to release more information about COVID-19 cases.
Finally, they want the district to guarantee social distancing, which they say isn’t always being observed.
In a statement, the district wrote:
Johnston County Public Schools utilizes the guidance from the NCDHHS Strong Schools NC Toolkit to implement the operation of schools. The 6-12 schools have been operating in Plan B in October until temporarily moving to Plan C on December 14. Beginning on February 1, elementary schools will operate in Plan B for the first time this school year. Previously, the elementary schools operated in Plan A in October before also temporarily moving to Plan C on December 14. At this time, the elementary schools are transitioning all procedures and operations to Plan B. JCPS continues to implement all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of the students.