After Governor Cooper and the State Superintendent for Public Instruction gave the recommendation for North Carolina schools to be closed through May 15, Pitt County Schools released the following statement.
“We know you have many questions regarding what this means for Pitt County Schools, our students, our staff, and our families.
MEALS AND OUR SCHOOL BUILDINGS
First, providing meals for children ages 1-18 in Pitt County is an essential service, and the school buildings that provide these services will remain open, just as our county’s restaurants and grocery stores will remain open to continue the supply of food to our citizens. We are continuing our grab and go meal services at many of our sites and our school bus meal distribution. Please check our website for the latest schedules and sites at www.pittschools.org. Last week, we served 40,000 meals in Pitt County, and we are now averaging 12,000 meals served per day. The state’s education system as a whole provided over 1 million meals statewide. Our state and local leaders believe it is vital that our schools remain open for this purpose. In order to maintain safety, we have reduced our staff in each building to include only those who are essential in keeping these programs running while also keeping our staff and parents informed and provided with necessary nutritional or educational supplies.
Regarding instruction, communication from our State Superintendent is that we will remain closed for IN-PERSON instruction through May 15, 2020. This means we will continue operating under our current status of providing OPTIONAL learning opportunities for our students. Our State’s Governor and State Superintendent of Schools commended our educators and specialists for working to provide educational resources and to create extended online learning plans in order to reach our students. Therefore, Pitt County Schools will continue providing educational resources and will be utilizing Virtual resources beginning Monday, March 30th. Teachers and staff are training virtually this week to reduce the number of employees in any one building. When educators or staff members are required (or request) to be in a building to perform essential tasks, we are practicing social distancing. Our school sites are also continuing to be regularly cleaned and disinfected per CDC guidelines. Our teachers and our staff members have been working tirelessly to provide both safe environments and continued rich instruction, and they deserve to be commended for these efforts.
For instruction beginning on Monday, March 30th, there are several options for parents and students in order to provide the most equitable SUPPLEMENTAL education possible. Teachers will begin virtual instruction through several online platforms and will be in touch with students and parents through their Pitt County Schools email addresses or other means, depending on the age level of the student and the school. Our website will also be a great resource. Please look for COVID-19 Virtual Learning at the top of the page by Wednesday of this week for comprehensive information.
FOR THOSE WHO NEED DEVICES
For those who have access to the internet, but do not have access to DEVICES, we will begin to distribute one device per household for students to access online learning. Devices, device contracts and device instructions will be distributed at each school site beginning Wednesday of this week. Please check our website by Wednesday for device requests and online forms as well. We thank many local providers for extending internet access at a reduced rate or free for our students and families temporarily. Please contact internet providers in your local community to access the internet if it is available in your area.
FOR THOSE WITHOUT INTERNET SERVICE
We realize that there are several spots within Pitt County without the capability of internet access and many families will need alternative means of education. Therefore, we are providing comparable paper packets of material provided UPON REQUEST from families. Families should contact their home school to request packets of information. Please communicate with those you know and with your neighbors to make sure all families have this information so we can provide the widest possible extension of education in Pitt County.
FOR STUDENTS OF VARYING ABILITIES
We also realize that all of our students operate on varied levels, methods, and capacities for learning. We are working diligently so that all children of all abilities have access to excellent educational resources. Our Exceptional Children’s department staff, district staff, school counselors, school psychologists and school social workers are all working to provide extra educational resources and assistance to our students as well. This information will also be available on our website, as we desire to be a comprehensive resource to parents who are now assisting in a child’s education in the home more than ever during this unprecedented time.
TESTING AND GRADING
Regarding student grades and testing, as of today, our state is working on requesting testing waivers. Please see the requests listed on the COVID-19 District Updates section of our website for further details. Today, the Governor did mention prioritizing this year’s senior class in order to ensure the students of the class of 2020 can graduate and continue into further education, the workforce, or other endeavors next year. We agree that this year’s seniors are a priority for Pitt County Schools and our high schools will continue to provide comprehensive information regarding the class of 2020.
PITT COUNTY AND PITT COUNTY SCHOOLS STRONG
Finally, remember that as the landscape of our community is changing as rapidly as the landscape of education, we are all in this together as valued community members. Pitt County Schools will continue to be a vital community connection and we appreciate your support. We are Pitt County and Pitt County Schools Strong.”