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Issue 1

September 27th, 2019

Pitt County Schools switches completely virtual with 7-2 vote

FRI. | 01-15-21 | NEWS

SAT. | 10-10-20 | NEWS

     The nine Pitt County Schools (PCS) board members met on Tuesday, Jan. 5 and Monday, Jan. 11 to discuss the possibility of the switch to all virtual learning effective until Friday, Jan. 22. During the first meeting, the board decided by a vote of 5-4 that Pitt County Schools would continue in the hybrid format for the time being. After much controversy the board decided to revisit the decision in a second meeting

     “After being updated on the rapid increase of cases and especially quarantines, a motion was made to close schools for two weeks and it passed [with a vote of] 7-2,” PCS Board Member Melinda Fagundes said. 

     Many aspects were considered by these board members in coming to the final conclusion to switch to virtual.


Photo contributed by Pitt County Schools

     “Given the county’s surge in COVID-19 cases...following the holidays, the rise in numbers of staff who were quarantined and the concerns regarding the lack of adequate staffing of substitute teachers, a board member made [the] motion to pivot to virtual/remote instruction...,” Vice-Chair of PCS Board of Education Tracy Everette-Lenz said.

     Fagundas, who has been on the board for five years now, is optimistic about the board's decision to move all virtual in hopes that students will practice more social distancing procedures with school not being face to face.

     “It is my hope that people will start wearing masks around others that they don’t live with,” Fagundas said.

     Although there are some working parents who will not be able to help their children with their schoolwork, students have the resource of classmates as well as teachers to guide them in instruction. Fagundas believes this will lessen any negative impact the switch may have on students.

     These meetings were held at the Kathy Taft Educational Center, instead of their former meeting place at the Pitt County Schools’ district office due to COVID-19 restrictions. These meetings were also able to be live-streamed on Youtube Live and then later posted on Youtube for others to watch.

     While discussing an issue which many felt to be controversial, disagreement took place between board and community members to analyze every aspect of making the final decision. At the second meeting, many concerns were raised about some board members' behavior, which some felt to be inappropriate. Fagundas feels these concerns were brought to the PCS members’ attention at the second meeting.

     “If we expect students to respect one another, we must set a good example,” Fagundas said.

     Everette-Lenz also believed that this behavior could serve as an opportunity for growth with the Board of Education members to learn from their concerned community.

     “As leaders in our community, it is crucial that we come together as a board to work cooperatively and respectfully while having the maturity to agree to disagree,” Everette-Lenz said. “I am hopeful that as a board we will continue to strive towards cooperatively and respectfully working together to serve the needs and best interests of our entire school community.”

     In the midst of the chaos that many felt at the first meeting, the board has reached a resolution which many PCS students and staff feel is the best in the end for our county. Even so, the school board is planning to meet on Monday, Jan. 25, as a regularly scheduled work session.

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