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Students petition for Rockingham County Schools to have virtual classes Monday, Tuesday

Piedmont Triad News
Sadie Kemp (Photo courtesy of Sadie Kemp)
Sadie Kemp (Photo courtesy of Sadie Kemp)

MAYODAN, N.C. (WGHP) — Sadie Kemp, a sophomore at McMichael High School in Rockingham County, wants a break for her classmates.

So she started a petition at change.org that suggests Rockingham County Schools have virtual learning on Monday and Tuesday to extend the Thanksgiving break from the classroom.

And more than 2,700 have signed up to support her idea.

Rockingham County Schools has Wednesday through Friday off for the holiday, as most schools do. Neighboring Guilford County Schools recently moved Monday and Tuesday to virtual learning days after officials said they learned about a high stress level among students.

“I am a sophomore at McMichael High School and felt the need to start the petition after talking with friends and teachers,” Kemp wrote in an email. “It’s been an incredibly long semester, and after seeing neighboring schools take the lead to offer their students this option, I thought, ‘Why not Rockingham County?’ So I started the petition. Someone has to lead the way.”

As of midday Thursday total signatures roared past 2,700, and there is a goal of 5,000. The district has about 12,000 students, but not all those who signed necessarily were students.

Comments on the petition included that students were stressed about school in general. Some complained about specific classes, and some wrote that they just wanted more time with family.

“I can confirm that RCS is aware of a student-led petition to have remote days Monday and Tuesday of next week. It was initiated by students at Dalton McMichael High School, so I’ve been told,” RCS spokesperson Adam Powell wrote in an email. 

“This petition is definitely taken seriously by the Admin here in Central Office. I cannot confirm whether or not the Board of Education will consider it.

“I have gotten no word of any special-called meeting or specific discussion to consider it. The next regularly-scheduled Board of Education meeting is Monday, December 13.”

And that’s a key factor in this effort: There’s just not much time to get the approval required to change scheduling and communicate with parents, many of whom would have to accommodate childcare and access to classes for their children.

GCS communicated its change about two weeks ago, and even then some parents expressed frustration at the disruption.

Kemp, for her part, is realistic about her chances of having the school doors locked on Monday morning.

“I am not hopeful that it will pass but at least I wanted to give students and people in our community a way to be heard,” she wrote. “I think it is important to let our school board know we have opinions and should weigh our views in their decisions.”  

Powell said he has not heard the board plans to take up the petition or vote on it, and he promised to keep families apprised.

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