Half of CCS pupils opt for virtual world

By Brendaly Vega Davis [email protected]

Nearly half of the student population of Clinton City Schools wants to return to a strictly Dark Horse virtual world only, according to information gathered by Superintendent Dr. Wesley Johnson. The Dark Horse virtual world is the school system’s remote learning style of learning.

Parents were asked to go online and fill out a form asking whether they want their children to attend either online school only or a blended style of learning, mixing remote and face-to-face schooling.

All students will have some sort of virtual learning in their schedule but nearly half of the students of CCS who responded (47.4%, or 1,104 students) and their parents want to return to a Dark Horse virtual world. Those student will be taught remotely. The other half, around 52.6% or 1,225 students, want to return to a style that mixes remote with face-to-face.

The Dark Horse return reentry website noted that students who choose a blended course schedule of face-to-face classes and remote learning can choose an all remote learning schedule at any time. Students who choose remote learning only can’t choose a blended style and must remain in remote learning until the governor changes what plan the schools are in.

So, parents who choose to place their kids in remote learning only cannot change their minds at any time. Students in remote learning won’t have the opportunity to choose the blended online remote learning and face-to-face instruction.

A total of 541, or 49.3%, of students returning to face-to-face instruction will need meals prepared for them at school while 556, or 50.7%, won’t need meals, according to the information gathered by Johnson and his cabinet.

The results of the surveys sent out to parents also indicate that 656, or 28.2%, will be riding the bus to school for face-to-face instruction while 1,673, or 71.8%, won’t ride the bus at all. The results also state that 971, or 41.7%, of students will need assistance with internet connectivity while 1,385, or 58.3%, won’t need assistance.

All parents/students have the option to choose a completely virtual program.

According to Johnson, if parents did not respond by the July 29 deadline, CCS will follow-up with individual contact to determine individual student/family preferences for those who do not respond by the deadline. Students will likely be assigned to the blended model if CCS cannot make contact to determine a preference, so they can plan space for social distancing.

“If we don’t reach a certain threshold of parents/students choosing the fully virtual program, we will have to implement an A day/B day rotation at the K-2 level in order to meet the required social distancing requirements,” the website answers. “We are required by law to cap K-3 classes so we would have to open up another classroom if we get an influx of students.”

Johnson said he doesn’t feel that will be an issue since around half of the student population has already chosen to do virtual schooling.

Students who return to school will have to fill out a bus attestation form, according to the superintendent. The attestation is proof that the child does not have any symptoms of COVID-19. Johnson recommends that these attestations be filled out every 14 days. Bus drivers will not be expected to check a child’s temperature before they get on the bus.

Charlene Jones, CCS executive director of Finance, noted that driver health checks will be completed daily, and masks will be worn at all times.

“We will be on an A day/B day schedule if very few parents/students choose the virtual-only program so only approximately one-half of the students will be in the building at one time on any particular day,” the CCS return website stated.

The requirements for CCS state that the school system must ensure that all students from kindergarten through 12th grade and all teachers, staff, and adult visitors wear face coverings unless the person (or family member, for a student) states that an exception applies.

For example, the person can take off the mask if they are eating, or engaged in strenuous physical activity. Cloth face coverings must be worn by all students from kindergarten through 12th grade and all teachers, staff, and adult visitors on buses or other school transportation vehicles, inside school buildings, and anywhere on school grounds, including outside, the guidelines state.

For more information, people can visit the Dark Horse return reentry website at www.clinton.k12.nc.us/dark_horse_return.

Brendaly Vega Davis can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2588.