FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. — The Wake County Public School system joins the growing list of schools in North Carolina bringing students back for in-person learning.
Under Plan A, students will attend classes at school with teachers and classmates daily. They will be required to wear face coverings and social distance.
Currently, the district is operating under Plan B where students are doing a combination of in-person and virtual learning.
On April 14, all year-round students will return to in-person instruction with regular calendar year students returning on April 8. Parents will still have the option to keep their student in the virtual academy.
A Wake County high school social studies teacher spoke with Spectrum News 1, saying the district has been doing a good job of balancing safety and academics.
"We can have more students return without opening up the floodgates and sacrificing the progress we have been working towards to get that community transmission rate down," Teacher Kim Mackey says.
Mackey currently teaches her students in the school building with some in-person and some online.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidance on March 19, allowing for elementary students to social distance at 3 feet, regardless of community transmission rate. In middle and high schools, the CDC suggests students can also be 3 feet apart with face masks. However, if transmission is high and students cannot cohort, they should remain 6 feet apart.
Mackey says at the high school level, cohorting, where a group of students are kept together throughout the day, is difficult due to switching classes and teachers.
“With the class changes, the teacher changes, and the classmate changes at those levels, you can’t do that. So, since we can’t cohort and do the 3 feet, it makes it that more important to respect the safety and dignity of our students by giving them that 6 feet and allowing the population within our classes to allow for that," says Mackey.
The Wake County Public School system reported 57 cases of COVID-19 last week. In North Carolina, there has been 1,873 detected cases of COVID-19 in the kindergarten to 12 grade school setting.