'I am so excited': Military family eager to see 2nd grade son enter Cumberland County classroom next week

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cumberland County Schools is just one week away from returning to the classroom for the first time in nearly a year.

The start date for Plan B, a blended in-person learning option, is March 15.

Jessica Deshotel and her husband have been waiting for more than a year to present their son, Zander, with a traditional German gift known as a "Schultute;" it's a school cone filled with treats and toys that German parents give to their children when they enter the first grade.

"Parents give this to their first grade students on the very first day of school," Deshotel said.

That plan was delayed when they moved from Germany to Fayetteville in August 2020, during the heat of a global pandemic.

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Now, Zander is in the second grade and about to enter an American public school for the very first time in his life on March 15.

"It was really hard," Deshotel going on to say that the lack of a consistent social environment was tough on Zander.

"Move to a new country that he has never lived in before and starting virtually. I was worried about him," Deshotel said.

But, that all changes next week for Cumberland County Schools. After dealing with countless start dates being pushed, because of COVID-19, parents and students are preparing for the "cohorts" system.

Student who chose to return to the classroom will be assigned to either Cohort "A" or Cohort "B;" Zander is a part of the latter group, meaning he'll be in the classroom on Thursday and Friday, while "A" conducts classes on Monday and Tuesday.

With more than half of CCS' employees getting the COVID-19 vaccine, more teachers and parents have expressed feeling more comfortable returning to in-person learning.

Pre-K and EC students will start daily in-person learning every day but Wednesday. Wednesdays will be a universal virtual learning day. Meanwhile, year-round schools will transition to Plan B on April 12.

Deshotel told ABC11 they'll be ready to give Zander his "Schultute" next Thursday morning.

"My parents did it for me, they did it for my brother, so I'm excited this day is finally here," Deshotel said,
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