School board approves face-to-face learning model in Robeson County

Robeson County students to return to class March 1

ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WMBF) - The Public Schools of Robeson County School Board voted in favor Tuesday night of adding a face-to-face learning option beginning Mar. 1.

In the new model, kindergarten through eighth-grade students will operate under an AB hybrid model. The A and B groups will rotate each week attending class Monday through Thursday, and both groups will be virtual on Friday.

High school students will have AA-BB model where one group of students attends on Monday and Tuesday while the other half will attend Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be virtual for both groups.

District spokesperson Dr. Gordon Burnette said they provided parents with a survey to gauge their interest in a face-to-face option.

“As of this morning, we’ve had about had about 12,000, and parental input is about 50-50 with the margins, but we want our parents to know that those students and parents who have hesitancies will have the options to remain virtual,” said Burnette.

While the face-to-face model was only just approved, the district spent months preparing for the return of students.

Each school had to create a re-entry plan in December. Pembroke Middle School Principal Anthony Barton said the district also allocated funds to each school to make site-based decisions.

“Gowns and masks, KN-95 masks, and shields, anything you can think of that the CDC has recommended these funds have allowed us to purchase that,” said Barton.

Barton is both excited and nervous about students returning in a few weeks.

“I’m probably not going to sleep Sunday night,” said Barton.

But he said he’ll have boots on the ground making sure things run smoothly.

“I’m going to be in the car line screening kids, and talking to parents, letting them know that we’re doing everything possible to ensure them that their student is safe but our staff is safe as well,” said Barton.

Barton said he and his staff will fine-tune things over the next few weeks, but they’re ready to have students back.

“I have fears as the leader, I’ve never led through a pandemic, but I feel like with everything we’ve put in place and we have a great starting point,” said Barton.

Schools are reaching out to parents over the next few days to verify which students are switching to face-to-face or remaining virtual. Students can only change options once.

Copyright 2021 WMBF. All rights reserved.