How schools in Pender County make in-person learning work

Families of PreK-5 students are now being asked to complete a Plan A & C Return Survey

Pender County Schools now in week 5 of in-person A/B learning

PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - While school districts across the state decide whether or not to do in-person learning this school year, schools in Pender County are adjusting to the new normal of classrooms.

“It took a level of teamwork from my teachers, our parents, and our district leaders to work out some plans that would benefit both our staff and our students,” said David Kirkland, the Principal at Cape Fear Elementary School. “It has been a task getting to where we are now. But we’re we’re moving along in a positive direction.”

Students filled hallways of schools in Pender County on Aug. 18 under Plan B of Governor Roy Cooper’s school reopening plans. Britney Rogers, a kindergarten teacher at Cape Fear Elementary School in Rocky Point, says she believes she’s got a routine down.

“We’ve had to learn,” said Rogers, who is also teacher of the year. “With having the face-to-face at the same time as the virtual students, it was very intimidating at the first. But you just got to jump in one thing at a time.”

Under Plan B, students in the district were broken up into two groups. One group goes to school Monday and Tuesday and does virtual learning the rest of the week. The other group does virtual learning at the beginning of the week and goes to school Thursday and Friday. Wednesday allows time for the schools to be sanitized and cleaned between the groups.

“Distancing has been one of the biggest changes,” said Tiffany George, the Principal at Cape Fear Middle School. “We’re making sure that students understand how to maneuver in the hallways, in the classrooms, how to remain six feet apart and masks at all times. So we’re working hard to make sure everybody’s safe while they’re at school.”

Stickers have been placed six-feet apart all over the hallways to help students know where to stand and how to space out. Water fountains are closed off and bathroom breaks are monitored. Gym class is 30 minutes to allow time to clean and sanitize between groups. The Elementary students eat lunch at their desks after it’s delivered to them while the middle school students pick up their lunch from the cafeteria and eat it at their desks as well.

All of these things are done to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and give students the education they deserve.

“It’s a journey,” said Kirkland. “It takes a lot of teamwork and a lot of breathing because every day brings something new, just as it would be in a traditional setting. But in this case, you learn from each day, how to adjust and modify what we do to continue to grow and develop in environment for everyone.”

After watching the video, parents are invited to complete the Grades PreK-5 Plan A & C return survey.

PCS officials say no decision has been made regarding if or when elementary students will transition into Plan A.

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