Hoke students kick off return to Plan A

By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • When school buses rolled this week and Hoke County public school students returned from spring break after the Easter holiday, it was the first time in more than a year that some children saw the inside of a classroom two days in a row.

Hoke County Schools opened elementary and middle schools on Plan A this week for four days of in-person instruction, and online-only learning on Fridays, to comply with the new state law.

It’s the first time since the start of the pandemic that many students were on campus on the same day together, unlike under Plan B, which saw half of students alternate on a Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday schedule. Plan A provides minimal social distancing, and more children can be on the school campus at the same time. The school system continues taking precautions such as temperature checks, frequent disinfecting/cleaning, and mandatory masks.

Some children continue learning entirely from home for the spring semester, with their families opting not to send them back to class in person just yet.

Hoke’s high school students returned on a Plan B schedule, with an optional online-only learning schedule also available. The high school is, however offering a Plan A schedule for students whose special needs require it.

The return under Plan A got off to a good start, according to Dr. Peggy Owens, executive director of student support services.

“We definitely had more students in the building,” she said.

The Hoke County Board of Education planned to discuss in its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night, how to comply with a state requirement that North Carolina’s public schools must offer summer programs this year to help students catch up on any missed learning opportunities due to the pandemic.

No decisions have been made about that yet, but board members will hear information and can consider options, Owens said.

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