Some Triad parents push for virtual school options as COVID case numbers rise

Piedmont Triad News

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Several parents in Guilford County say they’ve asked for virtual academy options months after the initial deadline as COVID-19 cases rise in the state.

A spokesperson for Guilford County Schools says the deadline passed in March. Parents say at the time they felt more comfortable with in-person learning as cases started to decline.

Meredith Smith has a fifth grade student at Morehead Elementary. She dropped her off at her first day Monday, but has reservations.

“Nervous, very nervous,” she said. “It’s scary, we’re not sure what’s going to happen.”

Meredith’s daughter Lilly is too young to be vaccinated. The Greensboro mom watched case numbers go up over the course of the summer, and began doubting her decision in mid-July.

“We started to think about, things are not going well, and it just continued to get worse,” Smith said.

Another parent told FOX8 they’ve been reaching out to the district hoping to get some kind of consideration for their student with special needs, who has difficulties wearing a mask.

A spokesperson for Guilford County Schools said the March deadline was based on teacher allocations.

“It’s definitely a lot of frustration, I feel like there are enough parents that would choose the virtual option,” Smith said. “I feel like there would be enough parents to do a class per grade that stayed virtual.”

The district has a mask requirement for staff and students, but Smith isn’t hopeful it will prevent outbreaks.

“My feeling is there will be cases in her class and they will have to quarantine, and I’m not sure I’ll send her back when that happens. We’re going to wait and see when that happens,” she said.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools is considering transfers to a virtual academy on a case-by-case basis, but space is limited.

Surry County’s online magnet school has reopened applications for the first 10 days of school.

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