Durham schools plan 'robust' summer programs aimed at mitigating COVID-19 learning loss

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Public Schools leaders are planning what they're calling "robust" summer programs. Details are still being worked out.

But leaders did discuss the goals for those programs during Tuesday's joint meeting of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education and Durham Board of County Commissioners.

"To mitigate learning loss as a result of COVID-19, focus specifically on narrowing gaps and cultivate partnerships to provide every student," said Dr. Nakia Hardy of Durham Public Schools, during the meeting. "We want to make sure they have a joyful, purposeful summer experience."

School leaders discussed the findings of virtual-learning preferences from December, with 92 percent of elementary families responding.

It shows English Language Learners had the highest preference for in-person learning at nearly 53 percent.

Another survey was just sent to parents of students in Pre-K through 12th grades with a Feb. 24 deadline, as school leaders prepare for a possible return to in-person instruction if Senate Bill 37 is enacted. The legislation requires all districts to provide in-person learning options. Currently, Durham Public Schools is planning to remain online through the end of the school year.

The Durham Public Schools Board of Education called an emergency meeting for Thursday to discuss the district's response to the legislation. No further details were released.

During Tuesday's meeting, bylaws were discussed for the Durham City-County Racial Equity Commission.

"We are now hopefully moving to the next iteration of achieving racial equity in our beloved city," said Judge Elaine O'Neal, who was part of the Durham Racial Equity Task Force, which led to the commission.

The recommended bylaws state in part:

"The purpose of the Durham City-County Racial Equity Commission is to examine, develop and enhance policies and legislation to eliminate the burden of systemic and institutional inequities and racism in Durham County."

The bylaws still need to be approved.
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