Education

This section collects Education stories from WUNC News & other sources.

In this Dec. 13, 2012 file photo, Thomas Stith, transition team executive director for then Gov.-elect Pat McCrory, speaks during McCrory's first news conference since the week he was elected North Carolina's next chief executive in Raleigh, N.C. Stith, t
Gerry Broome / AP

Thomas Stith III, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration in North Carolina and a former top aide to then-Gov. Pat McCrory, was hired Monday to lead the state's community college system.

Emma Wikstrom begins the first day of in-person teaching of second grade on Monday at Davis Drive Elementary in Cary, NC.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Southeast of Raleigh, two neighboring counties – Wayne and Johnston – both saw recent rises in COVID-19 cases. Both school districts had been operating in Plan B, with students rotating into schools for in-person class. Then last week, the Wayne County school board voted to move its youngest students to in-school Plan A in January, while the Johnston County school board opted to move all its students to all-online Plan C until January.

Two neighboring school boards, in two days, went in completely different directions.

An image of UNC's Old Well
yeungb / Wikipedia Creative Commons

Dozens of UNC-Chapel Hill faculty have signed an open letter urging the university to reverse course and offer only remote classes this spring. The university's top spokesperson says the reopening plans could be subject to change until early January.

On a recent morning Milagros Macher toured Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School with her 9-year-old son, Alberto.

This time last year, thousands of families were visiting huge "choice fairs" and spilling into schools across the Charlotte region for tours and open houses.

N.C. State Wolfpack Coronavirus Masks
Gerry Broome / AP

Some North Carolina colleges plan to require students to show a negative COVID-19 test in order to return to campus after their winter break.

Monday marks the return of in person teaching at Wake County Public Schools. Students arrive at Davis Drive Elementary to temperature checks and health screenings in the carpool line.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

While COVID-19 surges across the state, schools are adjusting plans for in-person learning. But the tough calls have been left almost completely to local school districts, as state and federal agencies are offering only minimal guidance.

South Building and the Old Well, UNC Chapel Hill
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Attorneys for UNC Chapel Hill have been in court for the past two weeks to defend the university's race-conscious admissions practices. The plaintiff suing UNC is the advocacy group Students for Fair Admissions. The group has pursued several lawsuits opposing affirmative action at selective universities across the country. The court trial has concluded and U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs will issue her opinion sometime in the coming months.

The famous well at UNC-Chapel Hill, with a larger building in the background.
Courtesy of UNC-Chapel Hill

The trial for a lawsuit challenging UNC Chapel Hill's race conscious admissions process is expected to conclude today.

Courtesy of UNC Greensboro

UNC system schools are growing more diverse with each new freshmen class, but the system's highest level of leadership doesn't reflect its student body or the state's population. 

N.C. Department of Public Instruction
Dave DeWitt

Republican Catherine Truitt was elected North Carolina's next Superintendent of Public Instruction. She defeated Democratic candidate Jen Mangrum by a close margin last week. 

The famous well at UNC-Chapel Hill, with a larger building in the background.
Courtesy of UNC-Chapel Hill

Do UNC-Chapel Hill’s admissions policies disproportionately favor underrepresented minorities? That question is at the center of a federal court case on trial in Winston-Salem.

South Building and the Old Well, UNC Chapel Hill
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

UNC-Chapel Hill now stands trial in federal district court to defend its race-conscious admissions practices. The trial, which began today in Winston-Salem, could potentially play a role in propelling the issue of affirmative action to the US Supreme Court. 

Flickr Creative Commons

North Carolina lacks robust and specific statewide efforts to ensure greater racial and ethnic diversity among teachers in public schools, the legislature's government watchdog agency told lawmakers on Monday.

Monday marks the return of in-person teaching at Wake County Public Schools. Students arrive at Davis Drive Elementary to temperature checks and health screenings in the carpool line.
Kate Medley / for WUNC

Middle school students in the Wake County school district are set to return to classrooms on Monday.

A student and teacher, both wearing masks, sit in front of a laptop in a classroom
Piney Creek School / Facebook

Report cards have been distributed for the first time in the 2020-21 school year, and in many school districts across the state, students have yet to set foot inside a traditional classroom. 

In this Oct. 26, 2021 file photo, Carolyn Griffin begins the first day of in person classes at Davis Drive Elementary in Cary, NC.
Kate Medley / for WUNC

 

At the back of a high school auditorium, past the last row of seats, is a sound booth. Normally, this is where teenage techies run lights for the high school play. Now, this is where Shellie, a teacher, leads classes from behind layers of personal protective equipment and a plexiglass window.

Monday marks the return of in-person teaching at Wake County Public Schools. Students arrive at Davis Drive Elementary to temperature checks and health screenings in the carpool line.
Kate Medley / For WUNC

Many of Wake County's pre-K through third grade students returned to classrooms Monday. 

At Davis Drive Elementary School in Cary, it felt a bit like the first day of school.

N.C. State Wolfpack Coronavirus Masks
Gerry Broome / AP

Following other campuses trying to contain the spread of COVID-19, North Carolina State University will delay the spring semester's start and eliminate spring break.

A school classroom with desks that are socially distanced.
Keri Brown/WFDD

When school resumed in August, nearly half of all public-school students in North Carolina spent at least some time in-person, in a classroom. Now, more districts are looking to return to some face-to-face instruction. 

The people at the so-called 'Plan B' schools may have something to teach others about what has worked, and what hasn't.

ECU / wikimedia commons

A university in North Carolina has announced temporary furloughs and pay cuts for its athletics staff due to budget deficits caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo courtesy of Saint Augustine's University

The Saint Augustine's University community is mourning the death of its president.

Irving McPhail died this week from complications of COVID-19. Officials said he did not contract the virus from the campus.

woman on phone with a mask on
Liz Schlemmer

With no students in the building due to the coronavirus pandemic, notes sent home by a teacher in a student's backpack are no longer an option. Emails and automated voice messages can get lost in the chaos. So to reach families with vital information, staff and volunteers at Lakewood Elementary in Durham are picking up their phones.

Duke University Chapel
Bill Snead / Duke University

Duke University has managed to avoid major COVID-19 outbreaks by enforcing standard precautions, robust testing and contact tracing.

Joel Muniz / Unsplash / creative commons

Food pantries on university and college campuses in North Carolina are experiencing high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though there are fewer students around. Campus food pantries have historically served students in need, and that need has only increased since mid-March.

White man wearing a mask directing a group of students to come forward with hand motions
Wake County School System

Wake, Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Guilford Counties are among the state’s public school districts that have announced mid-fall reopening plans for elementary and middle school students. Each district intends to implement reopening differently based on their community’s size, distinct challenges and specific concerns. The reopening decisions come as a relief to some parents who have struggled to balance the demands of work and remote instruction. 

North Carolina A&T State University student body president Brenda Caldwell says she wanted to attend an HBCU because of the "familial culture" and she thinks that culture is helping her university weather the pandemic.
Liz Schlemmer / WUNC

North Carolina A&T State University is the largest historically Black college or university, or HBCU, in the country. With 12,000 students, it's about average for the UNC System, yet it has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 spread among public universities in the state.

Students there have some ideas about why the school is, so far, managing the pandemic well.

A Wake County Public Schools bus.
Brian Batista / For WUNC

Students will be returning to classrooms in Wake County next month.

Cole del Charco / WUNC

Camp Kanata, a YMCA overnight camp, would normally be empty during the week this time of the year. Instead, the camp outside the town of Wake Forest has been transformed. 

wileydoc / Flickr

North Carolina State University announced a return to in-person classes and on-campus living for the spring semester yesterday. The school closed in late August after a rise in COVID-19 cases. School reopenings led to spikes in cases across the country, according to a new study co-authored by two North Carolina-based professors — as many as 3,000 cases per day. 

Charles Jacocks, rear, along with his wife Carrie and incoming freshman Ann Grace, right, carry their belongings as college students begin moving in for the fall semester at N.C. State University in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, July 31, 2020.
Gerry Broome / AP

A new study links college reopenings to spikes in COVID-19 cases across the country. The study is co-authored by UNC Greensboro economics professor Martin Andersen, Davidson College education professor Chris Marsicano and others. Marsicano is also the Director of the College Crisis Initiative.

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