Tuesday, 20 October 2020 19:21

Richmond County students to learn virtually 1 day a week starting Nov. 2

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Richmond County students to learn virtually 1 day a week starting Nov. 2 Pixabay

HAMLET — All Richmond County students will be learning virtually at least one day a week following a schedule change.

The Richmond County Board of Education approved the measure Tuesday, which will have elementary and exceptional students going to class every day but Wednesday.

The change, slated to start Nov. 2, is part of the district’s second phase of re-entry, which will be adding about 600 students to the classroom, according to school officials.

Superintendent Dr. Jeff Maples said teachers have shared their difficulty about teaching blended classrooms — with some in class and some in front of a computer — and concerns about not having enough planning time because they’re following up with the virtual students.

“For our teachers to continue doing what they’re doing I don’t think is sustainable,” Maples said.

Other feedback from principals includes orienting students and families to new safety protocols, arrival and dismissal procedures and cleaning and disinfecting rooms, according to Dr. Kate Smith, executive director of curriculum and instruction. 

Smith said there are 585 elementary students who would like to return to the classroom in addition to those who are already learning face-to-face.

“With these new numbers, it is evident that Phase 2 will need some planning and adjusting,” Smith said.

When asked by BOE member Bobbie Sue Ormsby if there had been any who opted to go from the classroom to virtual learning, Smith said there were some “here and there,” and the district grants the requests.

The ultimate goal is to have all students back in the classroom, Smith said.

Ormsby expressed concern about parents having trouble making accommodations for the one day a week students will be home.

Maples said that’s why the meeting was called early, so parents would have a two-week notice, and “hopefully they’ll have enough time” to plan for arrangements.

Board member Joe Richardson suggested that principals leave teachers alone on those Wednesdays.

Middle school students are scheduled to go back to class for in-person learning on Nov. 16, but high schoolers won’t return until January, Smith said. Families of middle and high school students have until Oct. 25, 2020 to complete a survey on returning to school or remaining virtual. 

Since school started back with only elementary and exceptional students, teacher assistants and custodians from higher grade levels have been helping out in the elementary schools, both Maples and Smith said. However, they will return to their own schools once those students return.

“This will definitely pose a challenge,” Smith said.