By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • Hoke County Schools welcomed students back to in-person classes Monday and Tuesday on a hybrid schedule, while other students will spend the entire fall semester learning online.
Technical difficulties caused problems for some families as they tried to set up their children’s at-home online learning for the first day of school. The NCEdCloud learning portal had technical problems Monday that affected school districts across the state, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.
Some Hoke County families reported experiencing long loading times, or other problems while trying to access online learning. Multiple people reported being unable to sign in to the online programs with their child’s login information. Other parents said they never got the right password to login.
“I can’t login to canvas, I’m lost!!!!!” Rene Johnson wrote on the school system’s Facebook page Monday. “It says email and password, and I entered it and nothing is happening.”
“I’m having the same issue with my oldest son’s. He’s had the same password & info for years & now nothing is working,” Tiffany Rose Howard replied. “We can’t log into his NCEd or power school or anything.”
There was confusion on other fronts, too. Some parents remarked that they didn’t know what time their child was supposed to be online for the first class of the day. Others reported being uncertain about which days their children were supposed to attend the two-day-a-week in-person classes.
Some parents also said the online schedules weren’t complete. Chanda Hunt Walker said her middle school child didn’t get a schedule during the open house, and the online PowerSchool only showed a few of his teachers.
“He still doesn’t have a schedule and the teacher didn’t have the information either,” she wrote.
Students and parents who need assistance with logging in, or who have questions about software/apps not loading should contact the Digital Teaching and Learning Department at 910-322-4174 or 910-568-9698, according to Hoke County Schools. Any device hardware concerns should be reported to the child’s school’s media coordinator.
Some Hoke County parents reported an easier transition back to school this week.
“Rockfish Hoke Elementary has been amazing with all this. Not a single issue for our 2 kids doing hybrid,” Alizenet Alaniz Amador wrote. “Hope everyone’s stuff gets sorted out and good luck tomorrow.”
Others praised the school district for working to get children back in class in a pandemic, even though the first day wasn’t entirely smooth.
“Hoke County did the best they could. I’m proud of them. Sure there were glitches and delays, but this is to be expected. This has never been done before,” Melissa Pike wrote. “I can only imagine what our teachers went through. Thank you Hoke County. We are in this together.”
Unlike some North Carolina school districts that chose to start the school year entirely online, Hoke Schools allowed parents a choice of hybrid learning, or online only learning for their children. Students attending in-person classes go on a Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday schedule, with online learning the other three days a week. About half of all Hoke County Schools students’ families chose to keep their children home for online-only learning this fall.
The smaller in-person class sizes allow for greater social distancing, and classrooms were set up with desks farther apart. Temperature checks at the door and mandatory face coverings, along with hand washing and sanitizing stations were set up to help reduce the possibility of spreading COVID-19 among students and teachers.
The school system said in a statement last week that the Board of Education is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, and if necessary, can pivot to move all students to online-only learning.
“If at any time we feel it is in the best interest of our students and staff to make the switch to 100 percent online learning, we will work with the Hoke County Board of Education to promptly make that transition,” the statement said.