First Week Of New School Year Brings Headaches And Smiles

First Week Of New School Year Brings Headaches And Smiles

5:50pm Aug 20, 2020
Most local districts are starting the school year with nine weeks of remote learning. KERI BROWN/WFDD

Students across the state are wrapping up the first week of the new school year, most of them with remote learning. It brought some challenges and struggles.

The week got off to a bumpy start when students and teachers were locked out of the state’s learning system known as NCEDCloud.

“Monday Morning, it was hectic,” says Shaunta Fuller of Winston-Salem.

Fuller’s daughter Jada is a first-grader in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System.

“It was hectic, and just trying to make sure we had the right username and password Friday was a task in itself because the tech line had like a 60 person wait on it.”

Fuller says her family is adjusting, but she worries about others who don’t have a person on hand to help navigate through tech problems or help with the learning process.

Another hiccup followed on Wednesday when NCEDCloud crashed a second time.

Caroline Armijo of Greensboro says her kids are excited to see their teachers' faces, even if it’s on a computer screen. She hopes this year will go smoother than what her family experienced in the spring.

“I feel a little less stressed than I did in the spring," she says. "I gave up my work in the spring to give my kids access to devices and help them with their work. I was their tech support.”

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools spokesman Brent Campbell says the first couple of weeks are about ironing out the wrinkles before a more structured approach begins after Labor Day.  

“The next week there’s still probably going to be some problems,” he says. “Be calm; you aren’t going to miss anything. You’re not going to get penalized for problems out of your control. We’re going to work with you — we’re here in this with you. We’re trying to work this out together.”

Campbell says the school system will open more community learning centers throughout the county over the next couple of weeks. The sites offer internet connectivity and other support services for students. 

In Watauga County, Superintendent Scott Elliott says the first week was bittersweet. They were able to see students in small groups during orientation and other learning groups inside buildings, but the empty desks are a reminder of what's missing.

“We are now looking forward to what comes eight weeks from now, what local health conditions will be like, and what it will take to get our kids back into school because that’s our goal.”

Elliot says in the meantime, he’s trying to make sure students and teachers have the resources that they need during remote learning. The district is still waiting on 400 devices it ordered in May.

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you’re experiencing.

*Follow WFDD’s Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

Support your
public radio station