The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school system is preparing to welcome back some of its youngest students. Those in pre-K are scheduled to return to classrooms for in-person learning on Monday. The school board's decision drew criticism and praise from families and teachers.
The Board of Education voted 6-3 to reopen classrooms for pre-K and exceptional students after much debate at its meeting on Tuesday. Kindergarteners and first graders will follow later in November.
All other grades will remain in remote learning for now.
Supporters say many kids are struggling in front of the screen and in-person learning is vital to their social and emotional needs. Also, being out of school for so long is creating a burden for many families.
But others say they're confused about returning when Forsyth County's COVID-19 case numbers are at some of the highest levels they've ever been. They worry about having enough PPE and enough staff to oversee safety protocols in schools.
“I'm concerned that decisions are made hastily, not looking at numbers, and to me numbers mean everything and they aren't being considered more seriously,” says Amy Lauria who has two children in the school system.
District leaders say they are closely monitoring health data and prepared to adjust their plans if needed.
They're also implementing mitigation strategies including wearing a mask — even outside — staggered dismissal times, and hiring nurse extenders.
The school system says it's also hiring additional contact tracers. Those positions will be funded through federal CARES Act money.
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