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Parents react to New Hanover County School Board’s decision to delay full-time in-person learning

Updated: Jan. 13, 2021 at 10:41 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A meeting Wednesday resulted in a change in plans for elementary schools in New Hanover County. Students and staff were supposed to go back for in-person learning—full time—next week; now, that’s not going to happen.

The New Hanover County School board voted 6-1 to keep students learning from home for at least another week and a half...a decision that has some parents upset and others happy.

Chelsea Cooley, who has two school age children, was disappointed.

“For my children’s school, knowing the measures that they’ve gone through, I know how hard the administration and the teachers have worked to keep it safe from day one,” said Cooley. “I’m also frustrated and my heart breaks for the teachers, because here you have...through the entire process...teachers who, literally on a dime, have put together lesson plans and turned their classrooms upside down, and within hours, days’ notice, have to do it all over again.”

Lori Sorensen was pleased with the board vote. She says the safety of her child, teachers, and staff is most important.

“I was very happy,” said Sorensen. “I was happy for the teachers and the staff. The teachers...I don’t feel that anybody has listened to them or is paying attention to them. They need to be vaccinated before all these kids come back in. I don’t think they have a voice and that was a concern.”

Both Sorensen and Cooley said they think parents should have been given a heads-up earlier that a change in plans could happen.

“If you were going to make a decision like that, I think the school board should disclose more information to us as parents,” said Cooley. “As soon as they started talking about Plan A, Plan B, they sent us surveys. So, what are the results of those surveys? What does this look like as a whole? And why, now, are you just making these decisions? Why did you make the decision to go to Plan A when COVID cases were on the rise in New Hanover County?”

“I’ve never seen a board or a superintendent disregard parents and teachers...all of them,” said Sorensen. “It’s very frustrating and aggravating as a parent.”

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