Wake County Elementary Schools Back In Person

Oct 26, 2020

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.

Davis Drive was closed for in-person learning back in March,  after Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order closed schools across the state.

With face-to-face classes returning in Wake County, students and teachers are required to wear masks, get a temperature check and COVID-19 symptom screening before they're allowed inside the building.

Assistant Principal Julie Cutler took students' temperatures as they got off the bus. She used a clipboard with all the students' names to keep track. When the last student came off the final bus, she said things went smoothly.

Children sit in socially distant desks at Davis Drive Elementary on the first day of in-person classes.
Credit Kate Medley / For WUNC

"In the first 29 minutes, we're doing really good — excellent so far," Cutler said.  "I'm an extremely veteran educator, so this is a new job for everybody, it's safe to say that."

Once students entered the building, they were greeted with floor stickers that reminded everyone to stay six feet apart. Typical communal spaces, like libraries, were closed off to prevent gathering.

Nicole Guay teaches second grade at Davis Drive and said she was looking forward to having all her students in the classroom. The only interactions they've had so far was online and when students came  by the school to pick up education materials.

"They would come through the supply pick-up and they would hold up posters and stuff," Guay said. "It's just so nice to actually be here and see them in my classroom."

She says she’s glad to have the students back in person, and is excited to teach them — and not through a screen. It was a sentiment shared by administrators.

"I am very comfortable because we are taking the precautions that we need to take, we're wearing masks, we're reminding people they need reminders," Principal Chip Mack said. "We're not being difficult with that, but we are taking the right precautions, we're mainting our social distancing."

The results of positive COVID tests have leveled off over the last month in Wake County, even as cases have surged across the state.

Wake Schools are bringing pre-K through third grade students back in a three-week rotation. Then, all the students will be in class together. Fourth and fifth grade students will follow, on Nov. 16. 

Middle school students will return on a rotating basis starting Nov. 9. High school students in the district will be remote at least until the spring semester.

About half of all Wake County students chose to remain in remote learning. 

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