Inside a Wake County school as students prepare to go back for in-person instruction

Friday, October 23, 2020
An inside look as Wake County prepares to welcome back students
ABC11 got a look inside a school as more than 8,000 Wake County students get ready to return for in-person instruction Monday with strict health procedures in place.

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- More than 8,000 Wake County students will return to school for in-person instruction Monday.

"We are really excited," Wake County Public School System Superintendent Cathy Moore said. "A little bit of anticipation, a little bit of anxiety about our students returning to school next Monday. Our pre-K-3 and our K-12 regional program students will be back in school beginning on Monday with a three-week rotation."

Superintendent Moore spoke along with Board Chairman Keith Sutton and Hortons Creek Elementary School Principal Sandy Chambers at the school in Cary.

"I'm really excited to see our kids and I think they'll be very excited to see us," Chambers said.

"We ask for flexibility," Sutton said. "Things are going to change as we come in on Monday and things are different as we know them. Tuesday will be even different. Wednesday may be different. There will be no two days that are alike."

ABC11 got a look inside the school.

Teacher Kelly Hurry will only have three second-graders in her classroom when in-person instruction starts.

RELATED: What Wake County students riding the bus Monday need to know

At certain times of the day, she'll teach other students virtually while an assistant works with students in-person.

The school will be much emptier, with 78 percent of the school's students enrolled in the district's Virtual Academy.

RELATED: Wake County school leaders discuss changes as students prepare to return

About seven students will eat lunch in the cafeteria at one time, while they socially distance.

Students who don't pass the screening required to go to class will have to go to a care center at the school.

Approximately 85,000 students are enrolled in the district's Virtual Academy, so they'll continue learning remotely.

There are reminders throughout the school for students to wash their hands and socially distance.

RELATED: Wake County demonstrates COVID-19 screening procedures all students will undergo

Hortons Creek has 800 students enrolled.

Monday, it will have 40 to 45 students in school.

District officials said that's typical of most schools

Students must wear face coverings at all times at school, at the bus stop and on the bus.

"The masks are required when you are in the building, on the school grounds they are required," Moore said. "If a student refuses to wear the mask, the kinds of things that normally happen whenever a student is not following directions will happen. There will be conversations with the student, with the family. There will be attempts to understand what's going on but ultimately a student who refuses to wear a mask in the building or on the school grounds would likely be assigned to remote learning."

Wake County students will be able to use playgrounds. They'll have to wash their hands before and hand sanitizer will be available if students need it.

The district has released a series of videos to help parents and students prepare to go back to school