GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford County Schools will have students learning from home for the two days before their Thanksgiving break.
The school district has announced that Nov. 22 and Nov. 23 will be remote learning days for GCS.
The district already planned to close schools Nov. 24 through Nov. 26 for Thanksgiving break.
The switch was announced a little more than two weeks from the break. It was met with both praise and backlash from parents.
“It is not easy for parents, it is not easy for children, I can’t imagine it’s easy for teachers,” said Sadie Hammond, a parent of two elementary-aged students in the school district. “I need to try to work remote which is not possible for a lot of people especially health care and first responders, they don’t really have that option.”
While schools were closed due to the pandemic Hammond made arrangements for her children. Now, she’s left to find childcare, if it’s available and affordable.
“To find some people to actually help him actually do live instruction, when I have to be at work and my husband has to be at work, is a challenge,” Hammond said. “I understand the need for rest and relaxation and flexibility but that’s what the three days off is for Thanksgiving so you can spend time with your family.”
GCS decided to give students and staff these two additional remote learning days after hearing about high levels of stress across school communities.
“Students will log in to their courses from home to complete missing work but will not participate in live instruction during the two days, providing students and teachers a more flexible schedule,” the school district said. “GCS is a 1:1 district, so all students should have a school-issued device to use at home.”
“Like other districts across the state, we have heard from our students and staff,” Superintendent Sharon Contreras said. “They need some flexible time to catch up on schoolwork and grading, and we are responding to that need. Students and teachers may use this time to recover academically, personally or professionally and to enjoy their Thanksgiving break with loved ones.”
Youth Peer Support Coordinator for Mental Health Greensboro Erin Hanes told FOX8 stress is at an all-time high for students and staff.
“It is a tough transition especially that it is rather last minute, but hopefully they did establish a routine during COVID,” Hanes said.
From learning loss to everyday challenges, she said students should take advantage of the remote learning days.
“I’m hoping students take these days as a way to reflect on how they’re doing and how their mental wellness is and kind of address what they need to do for themselves over break,” she said.
Hammond told FOX8 there were other ways students and staff could destress on campus.
“I think possibly having the students in class and just playing games all day, just having a movie day or an art day or a fun day would be better than breaking the routine and forcing them to catch up on work or do busy work and putting parents into a struggle and a bind to find childcare,” she said.
If you’re in need of childcare the school district recommends reaching out to your child’s school. Students will return back to in-person learning after the Thanksgiving break.
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and Wake County Schools have added a mental health day for students and staff on Nov. 12.