NORTH CAROLINA, USA — It's back to the school building five days a week for more Guilford County Schools students starting Monday, April 19. A similar re-entry will happen in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools on Monday too.
Elementary school students have already been learning in-person under Plan A for several weeks.
Here are the students at Guilford County public schools who will be required to attend school in person Monday-Friday starting April 19:
- All middle and high school students, except for those enrolled in virtual school or remote home school
- Secondary school students with disabilities who receive special education services through an individual education plan or 504 plan and English language learners who are not currently learning in-person five days per week.
In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County public schools, the following students will be required to attend school in-person Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday -- with Wednesday remaining a remote learning day, starting April 19:
- All middle and high school students, except for those who commit to exclusive remote learning for the remainder of the year.
Parent Melisa Graves has a 16-year-old son who is a sophomore in Guilford County Schools.
She supports students having the opportunity to go back in-person, full-time to school, and believes Monday's return is long past due.
"He is excited, he's thrilled, he's ready. I'm excited, I'm thrilled," said Graves. "He is the type of learner that likes to debate. He likes to hear other students' ideas and preferences. He likes to get input if he thinks he is wrong. He is a face-to-face learner. This has been horrible for him, although he's still been maintaining his grades."
Graves believes that society must learn to adapt to COVID-19 and that sending students home places a strain on parents who are essential workers.
"As a person of color, and my son as a person of color, we are already in a situation where we have to fight so much harder, and this has pushed him down," Graves said about the pandemic virtual schooling.
Other parents feel differently, including Tiffani Ellison, whose 2nd grader has continued learning virtually. She believes all schools should continue to offer virtual learning for all age groups.
"As a parent you want your kids to go back to school and socialize and have their friends, but everything is so uncertain," said Ellison.
She said she is speaking out to give a voice to other parents who might feel rushed to make a decision to send their kids back in-person or be left to commit to switching to a virtual academy for next year.
"Do I make a decision to send her back and be uncertain about her safety and her health, or do I keep on with virtual academy and have to switch her to a whole different school? Even virtually these kids have developed a bond with the other students," said Graves.