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Issue 1

September 27th, 2019

PCS board votes to switch to fully face-to-face after spring break

THURS. | 03-25-21 | NEWS

SAT. | 10-10-20 | NEWS

     On Monday, Mar. 15, the Pitt County School board voted in a unanimous decision to return to the North Carolina public school Plan A administration. All middle and high school students will be given the opportunity to return to face-to-face learning. Pitt County Schools (PCS) is currently in the hybrid Plan B administration and will switch to fully in-person instruction on Tuesday, Apr. 13 following spring break, while Pitt County Early College will begin this transition on Tuesday, Apr. 6. 

     “[This] has been our goal all along: to get kids back, but also do it in a way that is responsible to our staff as well as to the students,” PCS board member Anna Barrett Smith said. “Parents and students who have concerns still have the option of remaining virtual, but teachers [didn’t] have the option and so we were really waiting until they were vaccinated.”

     The board decision to switch to in-person instruction was largely fueled by the recent increased vaccine distribution among PCS staff. On Friday, Mar. 19, many teachers were given the chance to receive the second dose of the COVID-19 


Picture taken by Murphy Fisher

vaccine. Both Vidant Health and the Pitt County Health Department have hosted exclusive clinics for staff. 

     “The biggest concern was the teachers because adults tend to get sicker and the teachers are at a greater risk,” Smith said. “Fortunately, through the help of Vidant and the Health Department, almost all of the teachers and staff members who want to be vaccinated have at least received their first vaccination, and by the time spring break is over, they should be fully vaccinated.”

     Along with vaccinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a statement asserting that the school social distancing guidelines would be changed to three instead of six feet apart. With this change, PCS staff and administration are able to maintain all safety precautions despite the influx of students who will be face-to-face.

     “The only protocol that is changing is the number of students face-to-face,” Smith said. “There still be masks, still be cleaning and still a lot of the other safety protocols.”

     With the board having established the safety behind the increased capacity, many teachers have also pushed for a return to Plan A, fully face-to-face, because of the challenge of the hybrid option. The hybrid option requires teachers to instruct virtually, face-to-face as well as in an asynchronous format.

     In addition to an reported overwhelming amount of teacher support for the switch, the school board also voted on behalf of the benefits of returning to in-person for the students.

     “Teachers have this gift of being able to look at a student and oftentimes tell whether they are grasping a concept,” Smith said. “When kids are virtual, a lot of that gets lost.”

     Several Rose students share this sentiment in wanting to make the switch to in-person learning for both social and academic reasons.

     “Learning in-person is easier because if I need extra help, I can just ask [the teacher] then instead of having to email them and wait for a response to any questions I may have,” sophomore Dashe’na Hopkins said.

     Although Hopkins was wary of returning to in-person during first semester, she now feels comfortable with making the transition to face-to-face learning.

     “I’m not as nervous, but I do know I have to keep my distance and follow all the rules that they want us to go by [to] just try and stay safe,” Hopkins said.

     Many Rose students and staff are thankful for the opportunity to return to in-person instruction and cite the strength and flexibility of PCS staff and administration.

     “I have learned that we are an incredibly resilient district; that our kids are incredibly resilient,” Smith said. “Our teachers are heroes.”

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