New Hanover County Schools: Most preK-12th grade students will be on alternating three-week schedule

Plans for public schools to reopen are shaping up

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Most of New Hanover County Schools’ pre-K through 12th grade students will attend school on an alternating three-week schedule, according to interim superintendent Del Burns.

During a news conference Wednesday, Burns said that students would be assigned to one of three groups.

Groups would alternate with one week of in-class instruction and two weeks of remote learning. Siblings would be assigned to the same group.

“The district recognizes that there are some special education students for whom remote learning provides additional challenges,” Burns said. “For those students, services will continue to be provided daily in the school building. Additionally, English learners in year 2 or less will attend daily.

“A full K-12 virtual school option will be provided for families that selected home learning for their student.”

Burns said that in the next week the district would provide staff and families with a guide for school openings and a school-based survey for “families to communicate their decision regarding return to school in August.”

The school system is working on the logistics of transporting children on buses to schools, Burns said.

“It’s going to be very different than what we’ve had in the past,” he said. “We’re going to have greater distances between stops. Obviously, trying to get kids to school on time is a concern. We’re going to aim for a single run.

The social distancing on buses has changed a bit since the initial information. Initially, we were able to put fewer than a dozen students on a bus with six feet of social distance. Now with the governor requiring every students to wear a face mask, we can have one child per seat unless it’s a family member where we can have more than one child on a seat.”

On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper that North Carolina’s public schools would reopen this fall using Plan B, a combination of in-school and remote instruction.

“There is no great plan under Plan B,” Burns said. “What I think the district is going to start with is reasonable so we that can determine if the logistics are going to work and give us an opportunity, if necessary, to make adjustments.

“It will be my hope that things improve. And if there is an opportunity to increase the number of students in the building at the same time, absolutely I believe the district should do that. The goal is to get students back safely. At the same time, if we have some way miscalculated, if we have to make adjustments, the smaller the number and the fewer the variables, the greater the opportunity we have to make adjustments.”

You can watch the full news conference below:

LIVE: New Hanover County Schools leaders discuss upcoming school year

Posted by WECT News on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Christi McAllister is a mother of three children slated to start school again in the fall. She says shes nervous to send her young kids into schools during a pandemic and she and her husband are considering moving the three to online schooling.

“I cant see them getting much out of being in school one week and I think I can do just as good at home. I’m going to do my best, but there’s just no good option here. I’m scared for them and scared for myself and I just hope this is over soon,” said McAllister.

Three weeks ago, there was no question the McAllister children would go back to school in the fall, but the past few weeks have led many parents to make tough decisions about their child’s education.

“Everything changes and seems to get worse every single day and its just scary. I cant bear to put them in that situation… I cant,” she added.

While parents worries continue to mount, one student impacted by the decision has a more optimistic outlook.

“Its gonna be different.. kinda stinks but I guess its what they have to do to keep people safe and keep things clean. the virtual is kinda tough… at least it was last year. But its going to get a lot better, is my guess this year,” said Jaxon Biba, a student at Hoggard High School. “”It’ll look different for sure, and I think it will take some getting used to but it will be fine.. it’ll be good.”

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