Classrooms

Back To School In NC: Keeping COVID-19 Out Of Classrooms

Aug 5, 2020
The words 'Back to School In North Carolina: A Statewide Special' over lockers.
Brooke Bust-Webber/WUNC

Families across North Carolina are preparing to start a new school year in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. Most public school students are starting school online, but each school district around the state is doing things a little bit differently under guidelines released by Gov. Roy Cooper in July.

A graphic featuring four teachers from New Hanover County.
Rachel Keith/WHQR

In-person teaching. Then, no in-person teaching. North Carolina public school teachers had to prepare for both possibilities since school let out in June. And it hasn’t been easy, as school districts across the state have flip-flopped between the two options. In Wilmington, WHQR checked in with some teachers about their fears of returning to the classroom during a pandemic.

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

As schools decide whether or not to hold class in person or online, one big question is at the root of it all — how much is it going to cost? The funding debate has been front and center, from the federal level down to the state and local districts, each playing its own part in planning for the next school year. There are many challenges ahead to keep students learning and everyone safe and all of it comes with a price tag.

Back To School In North Carolina: A Statewide Special

Jul 28, 2020

School starts in just a few weeks, and no matter what districts across North Carolina do to re-open, this year will look different.

How are kids coping with plans for the fall? What concerns do teachers have about remote learning, and about their own safety? And how is the pandemic hitting school budgets?

Public radio stations from around the state are coming together for a back-to-school special. We check in with mental health experts, education officials and others to find out how North Carolina is handling the fall semester.

Terry Stoops is the Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation
Twitter

Contributions to the superb #TeachingInNC project are, to quote baseball great Yogi Berra, déjà vu all over again.

The names of classroom activities are different, but children today are engaged in tasks that have cycled in and out of public school classrooms for decades. 

Whether it is group work, hands-on activities, student-led discussions, or focus on "real world" skills, it is a good bet that previous generations of experts have promoted it, teachers have employed it, and children have suffered through it.

Mark Jewell
NCAE

When I look at these tweets from our amazing educators and students, a big smile comes across my face. It makes me reflect back to my own career as a NC public school teacher.

I have worked in education for 27 years.  I started in 1987, teaching in my home state of West Virginia. But by 1997 I was in the classroom in Guilford County, lured to North Carolina because of her reputation as a leader in innovation and classroom practices.

Howard Lee
UNC-TV

I found that a lot of the responses were inspirational, and I am big on inspiring students. I thought the attempt was being made to get students really excited about learning, and I really like that.

There was one post that was about success. The teacher talked about helping students find their dreams. I am in the midst of writing a paper about dreams, hope and faith, and this is what I am writing:

Dreams inspire, hope motivates and faith sustains.

(Note: Lee points out several posts that are by teachers talking about inspiring students.)

East Chapel Hill High School students
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

 The new Common Core standards have been met with growing criticism from many state leaders, teachers and parents. The standards were initially adopted by 45 states and introduced to North Carolina classrooms in 2012. They’re meant to replace a hodgepodge of state standards with one set of clear, consistent goals for what students should learn in Math and English at every grade level.