WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — As Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools gears up for school reentry Monday, there are mixed feelings from some parents and teachers.
There are also changes to who gets notified if there's a positive COVID-19 case at a school.
"My kids have had two parents at home so that's been a blessing but I know many families who are struggling right now," Angie Murray of Winston-Salem said.
Murray has four children in the WS/FCS district, two in elementary, one in middle school, and another in high school.
Murray said for struggling families forced to choose between going to work or staying at home to supervise virtual learning, the reentry now provides an option.
Students in second, third, and sixth grades return to the classrooms for in-person learning starting Monday after months away or in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I don't want to put my kids at risk but I also see them struggling at home, being socially distanced from everybody and not getting the education they deserve and they're falling back in so many different ways," Murray said.
The school district also plans to do things differently with COVID-19 case notifications. School officials said it will now only contact trace and only notify those exposed or within proximity of a positive case.
Schools would stay open and the entire district would not be notified of positive cases in schools except on the online dashboard.
"Honestly, there is no right or wrong way. In the last two months that my son, who's in first grade, has been in school, I felt like the school has done a great job notifying us," Murray said.
However, some teachers have voiced their concerns and feel the reentry to in-person learning does not err on the side of caution. Many said the district should wait for the vaccine distribution process to get to the teachers before going ahead with the plan.
"Let's not send teachers back into this situation right now when we are so close to getting vaccinated and potentially getting teachers sick and long term effects or death, you know that's very scary," said Brian Rudel who is a WS/FCS teacher.
Students in grades four, five, seven, and eight would return to in-person learning the week of January 18.
High school students start tests on Monday through the 21 which is when they will return to full in-person learning.