By Nathan Ham
It’s finally Friday and for students, teachers and staff at the schools across Watauga County, the first week of school is almost complete.
This school year started with 4,734 students in Pre-K through 12th grade in Watauga County, including 85 students participating in the virtual academy in kindergarten through eighth grade. Overall, the schools boast a staff of 720 individuals that make the school days go as smoothly as possible for the students attending in-person and through virtual classes.
Students and staff are currently required to wear masks inside school buildings due to the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases throughout the county.
High school sports are back to as close to normalcy as they have been since the winter months of 2020. The Watauga Pioneers open the 2020 football season at home tonight against T.C. Roberson. Other sports like volleyball and men’s soccer have already gotten their seasons started with contests played earlier this week.
Looking at this year’s school calendar, schools will be closed for Labor Day on September 6, followed by an early release day on September 15 that will be used as a professional development day for staff. Early release days are scheduled for October 21-22 to accommodate parent-teacher conferences. Schools will close for Thanksgiving on November 25-26 and will begin Christmas break with an early release day on December 17. School resumes after Christmas break on January 4. An optional teacher workday for Martin Luther King Jr. day is scheduled for January 17. Spring Break in 2021 is April 18-22. The last day for school is tentatively scheduled for May 24. As is typically the case, inclement weather will impact the school calendar at some point.