Durham Public Schools will stick with online learning into 2021

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) — Durham Public Schools will continue operating on fully remote learning, “Plan C” under the state’s guidelines, into 2021 and for the remainder of the first semester.

Traditional and year-round schools will use virtual lessons through January 15, while specialty high schools will stay online through Dec. 23 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Superintendent Pascal Mubenga made the recommendation after a vote 6-1 vote by the DPS Board of Education on Thursday night.

“We are going to make Plan C better,” said Superintendent Pascal Mubenga. “Our community and teachers are not all of one mind, but right now most families and teachers still have deep concerns about COVID-19. We are continuing to work with our health department and medical experts to identify the best, safest time to re-open for in-person instruction. Our students need in-person instruction, but parents and teachers need to be confident that our community is ready. I will always consider their health and safety first.”

Families can continue online instruction through the DPS Ignite Online Academy or go back to socially distant in-person instruction (“Plan B”). DPS will open up registration for Ignite Online Academy on Monday, Sept. 28.

DPS will have a unified lunchtime for all schools throughout the district, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., to help with families who have students at multiple schools. DPS is implementing “Wellness Wednesdays,” where elementary school students will have their screen time reduced.

DPS leaders reviewed a survey to consider the thoughts of staff and families on whether or not to continue online learning. 23.6 percent of DPS families, 64 percent of teachers and staff, and 34.7 percent of students, responded to surveys. The board also voted to consolidate the six DPS learning center sites to three or four depending on its continuing work with partners operating the independent HOPE Learning Centers in Durham

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