As Gov. Roy Cooper prepares to announce his plans Tuesday for North Carolina’s public schools this fall, thousands of Wake County families already have made their decision about how their children will learn.
Cooper will announce at 3 p.m. which reopening plan North Carolina public schools will use for the fall semester. The press conference will be live streamed at ncdps.gov/storm-update.
Meanwhile, the Wake Virtual Academy has received 18,000 applications since the application period opened Friday morning, Lisa Luten, a district spokeswoman, said Monday. More than 10% of Wake’s 161,907 students have already opted for the new virtual program, instead of returning to class in-person.
Wake Superintendent Cathy Moore said that number could reach 30% based on a district survey of parents.
“It is not for every student,” Moore said at a news conference Friday. “So we want to make sure that our families are thoughtfully considering that option and making the best choice for their child.”
Applications open until July 20
Wake says there’s no cap on the number of students who can be in the academy. More information, including a link to the application, can be found at www.wcpss.net/Virtual-Academy. The application period runs to July 20.
District leaders say knowing how many students are at the academy will help them determine class sizes, schedules and childcare needs for the students who return for in-person instruction.
Wake is planning on reopening schools in August at one-third capacity because of expected state capacity limits. Students will rotate between one week of in-person classes and two weeks of remote instruction.
Schools offer virtual option for families
The state is encouraging school districts to offer online options for families who don’t feel comfortable with returning before the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Wake has tried to make the academy more enticing by telling families that they won’t lose their seat at their current school. In addition, Wake says the current school will also oversee the student’s virtual academy experience.
Wake is asking families to commit to at least one semester and preferably the entire school year at the academy.
But there are still some things Wake can’t yet answer. For instance, students in the academy might not be able to get some courses online.
“It will not be feasible to offer all special classes and elective programs in a fully online environment,” school board chairman Keith Sutton said Friday. “Specials and elective programs will be offered, but the exact lineup of classes will depend on both student demand and teacher availability.”
Durham schools reopening plan
Durham Public Schools announced earlier this month how the district will reopen if it must reduce school capacity to 50% and bus capacity to no more than 33%, The News & Observer reported.
Durham Public Schools would require online instruction for all high school students, with “in-person accommodations for exceptions for English learners and exceptional children,” according to a press release from DPS.
Elementary and middle school students would spread out among the high school buildings, in order to reduce density.
Durham has its Plan B ready for school reopening. Here’s what’s in it.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools reopening plan
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board will have a staggered re-entry plan for the 2020-21 school year that keeps high school students home doing remote learning until the sixth week, The News & Observer reported.
The first week, Aug. 17-21, will be orientation for all students, and all will attend in person, including high school students.
Under the plan the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board approved last week, 20% of students in kindergarten through eighth grade will attend school each day, with each child attending only one day that week.
For grades 9-12, ninth-grade students will attend Monday, 10th will attend Tuesday, 11th will attend Wednesday and 12th will attend Thursday. Friday will be a makeup day.
The plan calls for the school buildings to be only 50% full at any time.
Here is the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools’ plan for school reopening
Charlie Innis and Matt Goad contributed to this story.