RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN)– Wake County Public School’s plan to have students return to the classroom part time is already drawing criticism.
According to WCPSS, roughly two thirds of parents surveyed they were are against sending kids back into school buildings under Plan A.
Dr. Sallie Permar, a mother and pediatric disease specialist, says a ‘modified Plan A’ might be the best option.
“Many pediatricians have come around to say that in-person school should be a priority,” said Dr. Sallie Permar.
That’s why Permar is critical of the school’s plan to have students in school one week, and then work off-campus for two weeks.
“We know any of those settings where you bring groups of people together are risks,” said Permar. “Could we just focus more on making the schools safe rather than trying to make all of the settings that kids are going to be in to make Plan B work safely as well?”
“There are always going to be times, places, and spaces when students aren’t in the classroom they are in other places where they could risk an exposure,” said Wake County Public Schools Superintendent Cathy Moore.
Instead of spending money offsite, Permar believes schools could use hospitals as models for safe reopening by providing necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning materials.
“As a parent, I was buying the Clorox wipes last year for the classroom,” said Permar. “That’s not going to be acceptable.”
Regardless of the age level, social distancing isn’t always possible in schools.
“We cannot have places that have large gatherings of students, so we’re needing to adapt to that,” said Moore.
This could provide opportunities to get creative with the classroom environment.
“We live in North Carolina, and we have the possibility of using outdoors classrooms for a good part of the fall,” said Permar. “Could those types of creative solutions come into play instead of spending all of the logistics and money in all of the additional childcare that’s going to come out of that?”
“We have identified that we have spaces in some of our buildings, but we’re also going to have to maintain social distance in those areas,” said Moore.
“If we don’t try in-person school, I think we’re disservicing our children even more,” said Permar.
Gov. Cooper is expected to make an announcement for reopening schools later in the week.
Moore says the district will be flexible with their plans until they receive guidance from the state level.