Teachers, parents respond to further school closure

Teachers, parents respond to further school closure

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Online learning will continue as the new normal for K-12 public school students through the end of the year, after Governor Roy Cooper’s announcement Friday afternoon.

While many families anticipated the news after watching several other states declare the same earlier this week, not all were in favor.

Some parents have doubts about the quality and consistency of online learning as it is right now.

Bob and Dee Lockerby say they don’t blame teachers in any way for the cards they’ve been dealt, but they hoped schools would re-open and say they would have sent their kids back to class.

“I understand there are some kids that can’t do it, you know, I understand there are some parents that may not be willing to do it," said Dee Lockerby. 'But let those parents that are willing to do it, let us do it, and then, you know what? You work with the other parents that don’t.”

Technology challenges must be overcome on both sides; Supply Elementary School teacher Kerry McMillan launched a Youtube channel to post videos of herself reading books to her students.

Google classroom meetings and Zoom discussions are now the norm.

“Its really hard because we’re all learning how to do this digital stuff,” McMillan said. "I mean, I used technology in my classroom but not to this extent”

She says that outside of teaching them, her primary focus is always her students’ health and safety.

“I don’t want them to be in any kind of danger whether it’s physical danger or with their health and it’s really hard, I don’t know how to feel right now," she said. I didn’t know that the last time I saw them was going to be the last time I saw them for this year.”

McMillan shares a positive attitude with another first grade teacher, Stacey Bell, who is also the mom of an 8th grader preparing to start high school in the fall. She’s designating hours of each morning and each afternoon to work with her students and with her daughter.

“I’ve enjoyed being able to at least communicate with my kids this way and see their faces, and interact with them and try to assemble at least some kind of normalcy in this," she said.

However, Bell says it’s not been an easy adjustment.

“A lot of my colleagues are not happy. This has been a hard transition, but for me, I’ve found that as long as I’m organized, try to stay on top of it, try not to do too much, but just making sure I’m keeping them engaged and keeping it consistent, that is more important,” Bell said.

You can find more information on the state’s plan for students going forward here.

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