Wake County Public Schools prepares for elementary students to return to classrooms amid pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Elementary students are headed back to the classroom next week in Wake County after being out of in-person learning since March.

Wake County parent Andrea Shipman’s keeping her WCPSS first grader in virtual learning for the semester.

“We just don’t know what we don’t know yet so we have no idea what it will look like when everyone gets back to the classroom,” said Shipman.

Some elementary students are returning to the classroom on Monday in Wake County. They’ll be on rotations. Middle School students will then go back two weeks after them.

“It’s different. That doesn’t make it worse or better. It’s just different,” said Crystal Reardon, director of counseling for WCPSS.

Reardon said they’re asking parents help prepare. They encourage students to be regularly wearing masks right now and have routines.

“We’re going to be operating in something that’s not normal, it’s not traditional, it’s not ideal,” said Reardon.

They have counseling services ready to go for anyone finding the adjustment difficult.

The district said their teaching positions are over 99 percent filled. Their bus routes are also adequately filled.

A spokesperson said COVID-19 has not impacted their staffing numbers at a high rate.

If teachers get sick, their school principal will find a substitute or teaching assistant.

“I worry about the teachers and the administrators who are already in the classroom trying to maintain the safety things that need to happen, all the guidelines that have been done by the CDC,” said Shipman.

Teachers and school staff will be in charge of enforcing masks and social distancing. They hope to do so with education rather than discipline.

“It’s ok it’s not going to look the same; They can still have a really great experience when they return to school and we’re working to help them with that,” said Reardon.

The district said they started their hiring process for anyone who wants to teach next year as well.

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