By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on November 13, 2020
Three weeks after opening school buildings — and with between 25 and 30 percent of district teachers already sidelined due to either being quarantined or testing positive with COVID-19 —the Dare County Board of Education voted 6-1 on Nov. 13 to return immediately to remote learning for PreK-12 students through the end of the first semester, which goes through Jan. 18.
Citing staff storages, the board voted to continue serving the 88 special needs extended content students face-to-face in all grade levels and to continue athletic programs and other extra-curricular activities. All students in grades 6 through 12, both in-person and virtual, would return to their original remote learning teachers. The K-5 virtual students would continue with their current virtual teacher, with K-5 traditional students continuing with their current teacher.
Teacher workdays will be next Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 16 and 17. Chromebook distribution will be held on Nov. 18, and remote learning will resume on Nov. 19.
“If you can’t have a teacher in front of the class, you can’t have the class,” said Dare County Board of Education Chair Bea Basnight. “We are at the breaking point where our teachers are out or sick. I think we are at the point now where we don’t have enough staff to staff the buildings.”
For her part, Vice Chair Mary Ellon Ballance echoed those sentiments, “I think we are at a complete breaking point right now,” she said, referring to the teacher shortage. “If we don’t do something, we are going to have a lot of bigger problems on our hands.”
Board member Harvey Hess cast the lone dissenting vote.