Brunswick County School Board votes on back to school plan

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Brunswick County students will be starting school at home this fall.

The school board voted on an overall reopening plan late Tuesday afternoon.

The first four and a half weeks of the school year will be remote for all students. After that, kids will go back to the classroom on a rotating A/B schedule, spending some time in school and the rest at home.

A lot of different ideas were tossed around the school board meeting Tuesday afternoon, with a lot of different opinions.

During the meeting, Superintendent Jerry Oates recommended a 9 week remote period to start the year, then shifting to a rotating schedule with in-person and remote learning.

The board finally deciding on starting the year off with remote learning to get what they call their “tool box” of safety procedures fully in place.

“Nine weeks would’ve definitely been a clean break as far as a grading period, and it would’ve given us the time to put the necessary protocols in place that we have,” Oates said. “I’m satisfied with the four and a half. We will have to definitely work diligently to get those things in place, and it’s mid-point of a grading period. So it’s almost at the progress report time that we typically would give out, we would then bring our students back.”

Oates said it will help give school staff the time to work through the logistics of temperature checks, cleaning procedures and other procedures for when kids get back in the classroom.

“As you already know, finding teachers is tough. Finding substitutes is even tougher, particularly now with COVID. But then again, going back to the requirements in the tool kit, we can’t have any unnecessary folks in our buildings, so they would have to be staff members,” Oates said.

Under a rotating schedule, Oates added, school is certainly not going to look like school as we know it.

He said it will cost around $125,000 extra each month for PPE and an extra $17,000 for transportation costs.

A group of parents came out Tuesday, fighting to get their kids back in schools.

One mom said fully virtual learning just didn’t work for her two sons, and they need the physical interaction with their peers and their teachers.

“My oldest is more of a reserved child, and he really needs to be around his age group children,” Lauren Braodwell said. “My younger one is very outspoken. He does not need as much of the social interaction, but he does need help in working in a classroom with listening skills, following directions, lining up. The basic things they’re learning in a classroom and in a group that they need for life.”

Broadwell said she understands splitting time between the classroom and at home, but says face to face learning is the most beneficial for her family.

One mom has a rising senior, sophomore and sixth grader in Brunswick County schools.

She said her older kids need to be preparing for college this year, which they can’t always do from home.

“I have a sophomore who needs to be prepped and ready to take things like the SAT and the ACT, and she is not getting the preparation she needs if you are talking about a virtual environment. She really needs to be at a school where teachers are drilling these important lessons in, and where she can also socialize. They both can really socialize with their peers,” Monika Satterwhite said.

Satterwhite said she would’ve loved to see her kids go back to school 100%. She said her kids are reading to go back to school, and as a parent, wants to see them back in a routine.

Details for the schedule with in-person and remote learning are still to be determined.

The deadline to apply for remote learning also has been postponed until 8 a.m. on Thursday.

The remote learning option is a one semester commitment.

Categories: Brunswick, Local

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