Survey: 29 percent of Dare County parents want school year to begin virtually

[Photo courtesy North Carolina Department of Public Instruction]

Dare County Schools on Wednesday released the results of staff and parent surveys regarding the start of the new school year next month, and the results showed 29 percent of parents prefer the year to begin with remote learning.

The Dare County Board of Education will meet Monday afternoon to discuss options under Gov. Roy Cooper’s order that schools reopen in August under either Plan B, with reduced student capacity or Plan C where they will begin with remote learning.

“Please keep in mind that the governor’s mandate to open with “Plan B” means that DCS would have a maximum of 12 students in every classroom (socially distanced by 6 feet). Thus, all students cannot be served face to face, five days a week, Dare Schools superintendent John Farrelly said in a statement.

Dare County Schools surveyed stakeholders last week to get input on three school reopening options provided by state agencies. A staff survey was conducted from July 6-10 while a parent survey was conducted from July 7-10. The results of those surveys are as follows:

DCS Staff Survey Results:
1. 514 staff members participated. 76% of those who responded were teachers. This means that 95% of Dare County Teachers participated.

2. 23% of the teachers surveyed indicated a preference to teach virtually.

3. Staff was asked which state agency “Plan B” they felt was best for DCS:

Plan A (K-8 on site 5 days a week/7-12 remote): 193 staff members chose this option first
Plan B (K-12 alternating days): 191 staff members chose this option first
Plan C (K-12 alternating weeks): 130 staff members chose this option first

4. 51% of staff members surveyed prefer that elementary students wear face coverings (This was an option until yesterday’s mandate by the Governor)

Parent Survey Results:
1. 1,751 families participated. This is over 50% of DCS families who participated.

2. 29% of all families want virtual learning for their students. The virtual school breakdown is as follows:

— Dare County- All, 1,751 Total Responses, 507 families (29%) want virtual learning

— CHES, 131 Total Responses, 47 families (35.9%) want virtual school

— CHSS, 125 Total Responses, 73 families (58.4%) want virtual school

— FFES, 144 Total Responses, 41 families (28.5%) want virtual school

— FFMS, 344 Total Responses, 108 families (31.4%) want virtual school

— FFHS. 460 Total Responses, 129 families (28%) want virtual school

— KHES, 236 Total Responses, 54 families (22.9%) want virtual school

— MES, 237 Total Responses, 61 families (25.7%) want virtual school

— MMS, 179 Total Responses, 57 families (31.8%) want virtual school

— MHS, 242 Total Responses, 70 families (28.9%) want virtual school

— NHES, 215 Total Responses, 55 families (25.6%) want virtual school

— DLA, 7 Total Responses, 4 want virtual, 3 do not want virtual

3. Parents were asked which state agency “Plan B” they felt was best for DCS:

Plan A (K-8 on site 5 days a week/7-12 remote): 35.8% of parents preferred this option
Plan B (K-12 alternating days): 34.9% of parents preferred this option
Plan C (K-12 alternating weeks): 27.37% of parents preferred this option

4. 56% of parents are not interested in sending their students to another campus.

5. 73% of parents surveyed are not interested in DCS bus transportation.

6. 55.3% of elementary parents surveyed indicated that they would not require their children to wear a face covering.

Options being presented to the Board of Education on Monday for the new school year include:

DCS Hybrid Option 1:
Hybrid Option 1 has been developed because it is impossible to staff K-8 every day with a maximum of 12 students who are socially distanced in a classroom. We are much better equipped to provide remote learning opportunities particularly for 9-12 due to the significant number of online classes already being taken.
Virtual learning option for the first semester for anyone in K-12
Preschool attends school every other day
Grades K-6 attend school on-site 5 days a week (spread out among campuses if needed based on student numbers)
Grades 7-12 remote learning (with potential options to schedule additional instructional support on-site)
7-12 special populations (EC,504, ESL) have the option of attending daily

DCS Hybrid Option 2:
Virtual learning option for the first semester for anyone in K-12
Preschool attends every other day
Prek- 12 attends onsite in A/B cohorts on alternating days each week/Remote learning on off-site days:
Ex. Cohort A (half the alphabet) attends Monday/Tuesday and are remote Thursday/Friday
Wednesday is remote for all (deep cleanse of buildings)
Cohort B (the other half of the alphabet) attends Thursday/Friday and are remote Monday/Tuesday
Students in the same immediate family will be grouped in the same cohort as much as possible
Special populations (EC,504, ESL) have the option of attending daily

DCS Hybrid Option 3:
Virtual learning option for the first semester for anyone in K-12
Preschool attends every other day
K-12 attends onsite in A/B cohorts on alternating weeks. Remote learning on off-site weeks
Ex. Cohort A attends on-site weeks 1,3,5 and remote weeks 2,4,6
Cohort B is on-site weeks 2,4,6 and remote weeks 1,3,5
Students in the same immediate family will be grouped in the same cohort as much as possible
Special populations (EC,504, ESL) have the option of attending daily

DCS Option 4
Virtual learning option for the first semester for anyone in K-12
PK-12 begins the year in remote instruction until a specified date (Ex. September 1, September 15, October 1). This concept provides time to see if local COVID-19 related data and mitigation efforts improve.
PK-12 then transitions out of remote to a plan above (DCS 1, 2 or 3)

DCS Option 5
The entire school system is remote for the first semester or until a Governor mandate to move to Plan A

The school system will be sending out separate staff and parent reopening guides next week that will cover many topics including the requirements for reopening including:
Social distancing and minimizing exposure
Cloth face coverings
Protecting vulnerable populations
Coping and resilience
Cleaning and hygiene
Monitoring for symptoms
Handling suspected, presumptive or confirmed positive cases for COVID-19
Communication
Water and ventilation systems
Transportation
Additional considerations

The district will also be releasing several videos over the next two weeks related to bus procedures, dally temperature checks/health screenings, revised staff responsibilities, social distancing structures, breakfast/lunch in classrooms, a COVID-19 decision tree chart, best practices while teaching with social distancing and operational guides.

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at [email protected]