'Meaningful learning will be the rule:' WCPSS spells out first two weeks back for teachers, students

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Administrators at Wake County Public School System on Tuesday shared the first glimpses of what instruction and interaction will be like when classes resume later this month.

The hour-long presentation at an afternoon work session also showed just how popular the Virtual Academy has become with families; 82,628 students, which is about half the entire student body, are enrolled for at least one semester.

When it comes to hygiene, the district is spending $3 million on personal protective equipment, including more than 1 million N95 masks. It's also purchased tens of thousands of digital thermometers and more than 20,000 gallons of hand sanitizer.

Led by Superintendent Cathy Moore, administrators also touted the professional learning teams that will assist teachers as they begin a year like none other in their entire careers.

"It's different than it was in the spring because in the spring they were ours for two thirds of the year," Melissa Davidson, an elementary school teacher, told ABC11. "I mean there's ideas running through your head of what you can do but you don't know them and they don't know you. They don't know who I am even if I'm a familiar face."

Davidson, who will return to school next week along with other teachers working at traditional-calendar schools, said she's also concerned about teaching in a face mask all day even though she fully supports the need to wear them to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"I consider myself lucky not to have underlying conditions that would impact me, and I know returning to school would be a risk," she said. "But the benefits of seeing the kids in person is worth that risk."

Both administrators and board members are hoping many teachers agree with that sentiment, but Vice Chair Roxie Cash expressed worry that many teachers are not buying in to the back to school plan like the majority of parents.

"That is the question that the board is caught between," Cash told ABC11. "I feel like it's parents and teachers talking to each other, especially in the special needs area, if parents feel like teachers should be there and teachers feel like it's hard to be there, that's something they need to talk about. Can we make both feel safe? That's something I hope we could."

Watch the full Wake County School Board meeting here.

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