Durham charter school begins bringing students back, but has teachers working remotely

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Healthy Start Academy in Durham has had 80 students in the building each day for the last three weeks. They are in the auditorium, cafeteria, or classrooms while masked and distanced from other students.

Teachers, though, are off-campus while teaching students.

“The teachers have said it’s been transformative for those students,” said school principal Alex Quiqley.

The kids who have come back were chosen based on issues with their internet or a home environment that didn’t lend itself to virtual learning.

“Excitement is beginning to build about having more students back in the building. We always want to make sure we’re following all our procedures and cautious, but yeah, I think the momentum is going in the right direction there,” Quigley said.

The charter schools will welcome back grades K-5 on April 5. But so far, only about 50 percent of parents are choosing in-person learning.

“I think part of it is parents are just like, we’ve gotten used to this, we’ve got our systems in place, we’re going to finish the year out, but I’m very happy we’re able to offer this option,” Quigley said.

He added that other parents are more than ready for their kids to come back.

In the meantime, Healthy Start is already making plans for what the fifth term, or summer school, will look like.

“This is a multi-phase effort and a multi-stage COVID recovery learning recovery process. And I think we need to get out of the box of thinking about it as a static school year we’re used to my fellow educators are all thinking the same thing,” Quigley said.

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