WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The return to the classroom is a little less than a month away for students in North Carolina.
In the meantime, students have adjusted to online learning.
In Columbus County, where there were concerns about connectivity, Superintendent Deanne Meadows, Ed. D, said 86 percent of students have been able to log on from home. For those who cannot, the district worked with ATMC to extend internet into the parking lots of the schools, so students can go there to download assignments.
“We were really concerned that we would not be able to reach that level of or that percentage but it has been great to see that number of kids be able to connect,” she said. “There are still some students who are having to use paper pencil and teachers are connecting with them by telephone.”
Meadows said if students are not hearing from their teachers weekly, parents should be sure to call the school.
“We need parents to help with that to help make sure the kids are staying engaged with what’s happening in the classrooms,” she said. “The teachers are reaching out every week to everything single student. If they’re not hearing from a teacher, they need to call a school because there still somebody answering the phone even though people are teleworking. So, call and find out why they are not connecting.”
She commends the work of teachers during this challenging time, who are working to make sure the online classes are engaging.
“Teachers are really working hard,” she said “Teachers are changing regularly in terms of what they’re doing trying to keep it engaging for kids and so I think it’s as best as it can.”
The district also continues to provide thousands of meals to help its 5,000 students while the school buildings are closed.
The governor ordered that schools stay closed through May 15. If that does not change, schools will open for students in Columbus County on Monday, May 18, for just one week of instruction.
Meadows said the district is working on plans for reopening schools, which may include students wearing masks in the classroom.
“I’m concerned that might have to happen,” she said. “We’re talking about children that are high risk and employees that are high risk. Do they actually come back at that time or do we wait and just see what happens at the beginning of the school year when it comes to bringing those students and staffers back? If we come back based on what’s happened right now, we’re only talking a month away, I don’t know that we wouldn’t need to do something like that (require students to wear masks).”
She said to keep students and staffers healthy when they return, the district is working to make sure it has enough disinfectant and sanitizer.
Meantime, the business of running a school district continues.
Meadows wants to remind parents that enrollment for kindergarten is now open.