'It's almost been a full year': Holly Springs mother pleads for schools to reopen

HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Holly springs mother is pleading for schools to reopen after she was forced to quit her job because virtual learning was too much for her eight-year-old daughter with autism.

"It's hard, It's hard to not know when it's going to end," said Stephanie Waller.

She didn't want her daughter's name used in the story but she wanted to share her family's struggles.

"It's been almost a full year now," Waller said. "She's never going to get that back."

This week, the CDC published new data echoed by Duke Health suggesting transmission of COVID-19 in schools appeared low as long as students wore masks and stuck to a rotation.
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New reports from both the CDC and Duke Health says it is safe for students to return to classrooms during the pandemic as long as students and staff follow proper precautions to ke

Waller's daughter was doing that from mid-November until Christmas break and said it worked. Her daughter is normally in a specialized program in a classroom with just seven other students.

"From our experience with our school, it never felt like anyone was unsafe," she said. "When they got there, they put the windows down, they took her temperature and asked us a series of questions."

Wake County schools pulled the plug for a Christmas pause and hasn't gone back since.
The school board will decide the future of the spring semester in just a few weeks.

In the meantime, the chair of that board Keith Sutton said, "It is our strong desire to return students to school and face-to-face instruction. However, we will do so when we feel it is both safe and operationally sound to do so."

Chair Sutton also said the new CDC data is helpful but other factors go into their decision including local data as well as staffing concerns.

Governor Cooper said Thursday that more proposals are forthcoming on the school's front in the coming days. Republican lawmakers meantime said they're drafting legislation to require all school districts to do in-person learning in some capacity.

"Not an hour goes by when I don't think about this and wonder," Stefanie said.

On Saturday, some parents will attend a reopen schools rally outside the Governor's Mansion at 3 p.m.
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