CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County students could be returning to in-person learning in October if they didn’t enroll in the Virtual Academy option.
More than half of the students within the district chose to enroll in the Virtual Academy, which requires them to do only online learning for at least a semester.
WCPSS provided more details on what classrooms may look like when they reopen for students in the “Plan B Transition.” Learning areas will be spaced apart for social distancing with signage throughout the schools.
“I think it’s going to be safe and I don’t have any hesitation about sending my own children back to school,” said chairman Keith Sutton with the board of education.
The district said it spent more than $3 million on personal protective equipment and ordered more than 20,000 gallons of hand sanitizer.
“We want to make sure we do this the right way,” Sutton said.
Students are starting school on Aug. 17 with a two-week orientation period. In that time, families will also get WiFi hotspots and devices.
Online learning will then begin, which will have higher expectations than in the Spring.
“The online school day will be just that: School,” said Seydric Williams, Northwestern Area Superintendent.
The goal’s to bring students back to in-person learning in the second quarter, which is toward the end of October.
Students would be on three-week rotations with in-person learning for one week and remote for two. So, a third of students would be in school facilities at a time.
“We miss our students. I know I have one at home who definitely misses being able to collaborate with classmates,” Williams said.
The district is establishing a COVID-19 scientific advisory board. It’ll be made up of metrics and health experts to offer guidance as they reopen.
“What we know is that we’re not ready for school to open for students right now,” said Superintendent Cathy Moore.
Teachers will also be phased back into the buildings in the first quarter. They’re taking courses to improve the blended online learning experience. Those who don’t feel comfortable returning can stay remote as long as they’re able to get their work done.
“We cannot reinforce enough that our teachers need to feel the same empathy and respect that we talk about as being important for building relationships with our students,” said board member Dr. Jim Martin.
A website with childcare options is expected to launch this week. The district is also providing information online to help families with navigating online school.
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