As Watauga County Schools’ first semester draws to a close, the system is seeking information from parents on how they plan to enroll their children in school for the second-half of the school year.
Parents who enrolled their children in the Watauga Virtual Academy for the first semester of the 2020-21 school year will have the option to return to in-person instruction after Christmas break or continue in virtual learning.
Because the WCS must meet staffing requirements based on the number of students who are returning to in-person school and those who will remain in the WVA, it is critical the school system has as much information as possible about parent’s plans for the Spring.
WCS is asking that all parents complete the following surveys to indicate their plans and needs. The survey for K-8 students may be found at http://bit.ly/wcsk8survey. The Watauga High School Survey may be found at http://bit.ly/wcssurveywhs. Both surveys can be found on the Watauga County Schools website, www.wataugaschools.org.
The surveys will ask parents whether they intend for their children to attend school in-person learning for the remainder of the school year or stay at home full time for remote instruction.
Families who commit to in-person school do so regardless of potential schedule changes. Right now, Watauga County Schools is operating on a 2×3 flex schedule, but if local COVID-19 numbers improve, schools could reopen further with students attending up to five days a week. Those who commit to in-person school will not have the option to change to all virtual instruction later in the year.
If families choose to continue instruction in the Watauga Virtual Academy, they will not have the option of returning to face-to-face instruction at any point for the remainder of this school year. Students currently in the WVA could be assigned to a new class or teacher for the remainder of the year based on the number of students enrolled. If a student currently attends in-person instruction, but moves to the all remote option, they will not be able to continue with their current class and teacher.
WCS Superintendent Scott Elliott said he hoped as many students as possible would return to in-person learning. He said the school district had made great strides to implement COVID screenings and precautions for students and staff in school buildings.
“The measures we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools are difficult, but they are working.” Elliott said. “Some of things that felt so uncertain when this school year started in August are now a matter of course for our nurses and others who are doing so much to implement our safety measures. Since August, while we’ve seen outbreaks in students and staff stemming from out-of-school activities, we are seeing very limited spread in our school buildings.”
Elliott said the system’s intensive social distancing and screening measures were another reason it was so critical to get feedback from parents about their Spring plans.
“Because we have such stringent measures in place to ensure people are keeping adequate distance from each other, and that classrooms and other common areas are appropriately arranged, it’s vital that we have the best-possible information about who will be attending school in person and how many students to expect,” Elliott said.
In completing the second semester survey, school staff asks parents to consider how to best meet their child’s health, social emotional, and academic needs within the options that are available; their ability to provide/maintain reliable internet should they choose to attend the Watauga Virtual Academy; and that teacher assignments, daily schedules, or cohort groupings are subject to change depending on their choice.
Staff also asks parents to note that not all high school courses are available online through the WVA. This could require schedule changes for high school students who opt into the WVA for the spring semester.
The second semester parents surveys will be available online from Thursday, Nov. 5 to Monday, Nov. 16 at 3:30 p.m. The K-8 survey can be found at http://bit.ly/wcsk8survey, the high school survey at http://bit.ly/wcssurveywhs. Links to both may also be found at wataugaschools.org.
If you have any questions regarding second semester plans, please contact your child’s principal. You may also call Tamara Stamey or Meredith Jones at our Central Office at 828-264-7190.