Many Wake County Parents Frustrated With Virtual School Enrollment Closed With Exploding COVID-19 Cases

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) – Wake County Public Schools have announced that no other students can move into their virtual academy. It comes as at least six schools have dealt with COVID-19 clusters in the past month.

After a year at home, Elizabeth Parent was optimistic about her children’s return to school. At least she did in early May when she decided not to enroll in the virtual academy.

“Things were going well. People were getting vaccinated, the cases were much less numerous, ”she recalls. “So I was comfortable with my kids coming in person. Now, not so much.

COVID-19 cases are increasing statewide. The virus is spreading in several schools. According to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, some schools have dealt with numerous cases in the past month. Herbert Akins Road Elementary School lists around 30 cases in July and August, as does Salem Elementary School.

Turner Creek Elementary School has 18 documented cases. That doesn’t mean all of these cases were from school settings – although these schools each reported clusters, as have at least three other schools in Wake County.

Sarena Phillips’ daughter has had to self-quarantine twice since she started school last month.

“She’s been out for as long as she’s been in it,” Phillips said.

She was hoping to change the virtual academy, but the district announced that the online-only option was full and that no new admissions or transfers would be accepted. School board president Keith Sutton said there were not enough VA teachers to accommodate more students. Trying to rearrange the classes at this point would be disruptive.

The district pointed out that the schools all have mask mandates, but Phillips and Parent said they believe they will have the option to switch to virtual learning due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

When parents had to decide whether to register for the virtual academy in the spring, information from WCPSS read: “The district will reassess the virtual academy registration if the COVID-19 pandemic reappears. . “

“I don’t know who defines what an outbreak is,” Phillips said, noting that in recent times the number of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina has at times been twice as high as at the same time. Last year.

“I’m incredibly surprised that they aren’t opening it up to more students,” Parent added.

WCPSS said some exceptions will be made based on specific mitigating circumstances, but even these will be based on the capacity of an individual school or class.

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Perry A. Thomasson