Hoke schools extend online learning through Jan. 29

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • When Hoke County Schools students start the new school semester in January, it will be through online instruction with no in-person classes.

The school system announced Monday evening that classes will be online only at least through January 29.

The schools closed campuses to students about 10 days early this year ahead of winter break, with administrators citing the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community. The district had planned to have a few days of online-only instruction at the start of the new semester January 6. School leaders consulted with health officials and made the call to extend the online-only learning plan through the end of January.

“After consulting with the Hoke County Health Department and reviewing our local metrics, Hoke County Schools has made the decision to extend remote instruction for all Hoke County Schools’ students at least through Friday, January 29, 2021,” the school system announced on its website and social media. “This decision was made due to the increase of community transmission of COVID-19. As always, our priority will be the safety and well-being of our students and staff.”

Students and teachers are observing the holiday break from December 23-January 5. All students will resume remote instruction January 6.

That includes elementary school students. The school system was preparing to potentially return the county’s elementary schools to a four-day-a-week schedule of in-person learning, until the rising number of virus cases forced a return to

Hoke County Schools was one of only a handful of public districts in the state that returned to a hybrid in-person instruction schedule in August. About half of the district’s roughly 9,000 students opted for online-only learning instead for the fall semester. A recent survey of parents showed that while a few more families would be interested in sending their child back to class next semester, over 40 percent would prefer to stay with online instruction.

School officials will examine the data again in early 2021 to decide on schedule plans for February and beyond.

“Additional information regarding our next steps after January 29 will be made using updated information and data,” the statement said.

For more information, visit https://www.hcs.k12.nc.us.

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