Onslow schools parents struggle with their options with one month until back to school

The Onslow County school board voted unanimously Thursday to return to in-person classes next month with an altered schedule for only two days of classroom instruction per student.
The calendar for schools in Onslow County looks very non-traditional for the 2020-2021 school year. The school board voted unanimously Thursday for an altered c
Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 7:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 8:33 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The calendar for schools in Onslow County looks very non-traditional for the 2020-2021 school year. The school board voted unanimously Thursday for an altered calendar to adjust to Gov. Cooper’s education order released Tuesday.

The plan includes two days of in-person classes and three days of remote learning per student. Students are staggered either on Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday schedules to ensure proper social distancing.

“I think the teachers are very anxious to get back to working with our students,” said Onslow County Schools Communications Officer Brent Anderson. “I know they’re concerned about what we’re going to be doing in terms of how we can help them. But we’re going to be working very closely to make sure we are meeting the needs of our teachers.”

Anderson says the plan was preferred over other options by a majority of parents like Kinshasha Adamson. She’s a single mother of three children, two of whom have medical issues.

“Them wearing masks all day long is a huge concern in the classroom I know I can barely get them to wear it,” said Adamson.

Adamson’s daughter, third-grader Ka’niyah, has epilepsy and a heart condition, and her son, high school freshman Durice. For her, the decision to send her kids back to Onslow County classrooms is deciding whether to prioritize her children’s health or their education.

“Anxiety is on 20,” said Adamson. “I believe in God, and I want to pray for all the babies at the schools that everybody is healthy and everybody remains healthy. But, how are we going to keep these babies safe?”

Data collected by the Onslow County chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators found a majority of teachers agreed with the plan, as well. Teachers like Anne Hardinger, who is the president of the Onslow County chapter, agree that it’s the best solution to a less-than-ideal situation, but still have reservations.

“Our schools are already not well-staffed when it comes to nurses and counselors and social workers,” said Hardinger. “Most educators are also parents so the same thing that our parents are dealing with as far as childcare, our students are also only going to be at school two days a week.”

Teachers and parents are finding themselves in a tough situation this school year: Hope for the best, or return to full-time online classes.

“If we do decide for them to go into the classroom, I am going to be nervous as I don’t know what,” said Adamson. “Every day. Because I just want I want them safe. I want everybody safe. It’s tough.”

Adamson and other Onslow County parents have the opportunity to register for full-time online classes this fall. The deadline for registration is Wednesday, July 22.

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