Students, school leaders prepare for a new school year in Bladen County

Bladen County Schools distributes laptops to high school students

BLADEN COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Schools in Bladen County start back on August 17, but as remote learning. Laptop distribution began for students Monday.

“It’s kind of weird to me that I’ve got to start high school off through a computer,” said Jair McElveen. He’ll be a freshman at East Bladen High School this year. He says he enjoys school and is disappointed it won’t be like years past.

The Bladen County School system made the announcement that grades K-12 would start the school year virtually last month.

“In March we all, as a state, were thrusted into remote learning,” said Taylor. “And we were not fully prepared for it in that manner. But since then, we’ve had so much time to think about how it should look. How we interact with students, how we deal with their social and emotional needs. All the things that we know we’re going to make remote learning a success.”

The plan is to have everyone learn from home for a few weeks and then slowly move each grade back into the school.

“We’re starting out with plan C, which is virtual for everyone and then kindergarten through 4th grade will come back Sept. 14,” said Taylor. “Then after that, we’ll make adjustments based on what the metrics say. We may include more students, we may have to go back to virtual, but we';ll always be subject to what the governor says.”

Taylor says he’s gotten feedback from parents and teachers regarding their thoughts for the school year and understands everyone’s concerns.

“What I recognize is that there is no wrong answer,” said Taylor. “Those parents that want their kids to come back to school, they are correct. Those parents that want their kids to preform virually, they are correct. Our goal is trying to determine the best way to bring their kids back.”

Taylor says the biggest issue that they’ve confronted is childcare.

“We’re hoping that our daycare’s and extended family members are able to do things to assist those parents that are in that situation,” said Taylor. “It’s a tough situation. I don’t have the answer to it. It’s just something we’ll have to work through as a community together.”

As for McElveen, he understands the factors that come into play when making decisions about school during a global health crisis, but he is eager to enjoy high school the way he’s also dreamt of.

“Get back into the classroom, get back into a routine,” said McElveen. “Hopefully everything will be back to normal by the end of the year.”

School starts Monday, August 17.

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