Wake County school board votes 8-1 to return to partial in-person learning Feb. 15

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Students are set to return to campus on Feb. 15 after originally scheduled for a January return.

The Wake County school board voted 8-1 Tuesday for sending students back into the classroom on Feb. 15.

Dr. Jim Martin was only board member to vote against motion.

As of Feb. 15, pre-K through third grade will have daily in-person instruction, grades 4 and 5 will meet in person in three-week rotations, middle and high School will also gave three-week rotations and special education regional programs K-12 will meet for daily in-person instruction.

Mom Stefanie Waller is pleased with the decision. Waller has an 8-year-old in a Wake County Schools regional special education program

"We are really, really happy. We're really, really thankful the board listened to the stories of families like ours," said Waller. "We're so excited. I haven't even told her. She was even asking yesterday, 'When can I go to school?'"

An anonymous Wake County teacher spoke with ABC11 saying she respects everyone's opinion but thinks children's learning has become delayed because of time out of the classroom. She said she was in a classroom of 15 to 16 kids and felt completely safe.

"I never felt unsafe. It feels incredibly safe to me," she said. "My students' needs far outweigh the fear of a virus. I know the virus is real. I had it."

Earlier this year, WCPSS Human Resources ran a television advertisement in an effort for more substitute teachers.

From the advertisement, assistant superintendent AJ Muttillo said 464 candidates attended one of the three virtual information sessions followed by 418 individuals submitting an application, and finally, 83 candidates who attended substitute orientation.

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"The role of the substitute teacher is now more vital to the success of our school district than ever before," said Muttillo in a release. "We need folks who are ready and willing to join us in supporting our students and making a difference in their lives."

Another 49 people are scheduled to complete orientation on Feb. 3.
"The marketing efforts from January are really just now being reflected in some of these orientation numbers," he said.

According to the release, the district said there was a shortage of up to 200 substitute teachers on any given day the last two weeks before winter break.

To find out more on how to become a substitute teacher with WCPSS, visit here.

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The district said there was a shortage of up to 200 substitute teachers on any given day the last two weeks before winter break.

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