Carolina Day School

Honors Papers 2021-22

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"Asheville Area Schools' Approach to Reopening Differs: The Future Remains Uncertain" by Janaki Beharrysingh This time last year, all schools were open in full capacity. On a weekday morning, multitudes of school buses could be seen driving through the streets, and loads of cars would be parked at various school buildings, no matter if they were public or private schools. Nowadays? Not so much. Roads are less packed, there are fewer buses on the roads, and school parking lots seem a little less full. Things have changed drastically. Covid-19 has led schools to approach opening in many different ways. Since the beginning of summer, schools across the area have gradually reopened despite a global pandemic, and a large variety of reopening plans have led to widespread impacts. While these reopening plans most affect students attending school virtually, whether, through the public school or the bridge program, they also impact members of the CDS community who returned to school. However, as the cases of Covid-19 continue statewide and nationwide, the future of what the school year for many students will entail is uncertain. In July 2020, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced three different plans for reopening public schools in the fall; Plan A, B, and C. Plan A involves all students attending school full time, Plan B involves students attending school part-time, and Plan C involves students having school virtually. Asheville City Schools began the year in Plan C; all the students began attending school virtually. Asheville High, one of the schools in this district, still has its students in a virtual model. Nora Oakes, a junior at Asheville High School, says that virtual school comes with some upsides, but quite a few challenges for her as well. Oakes states that virtual school is "definitely easier" because they have weekly assignments so she can "kind of go at [her] own pace." She also notes that "it's just kind of a free for all," which makes virtual school more difficult. The way Oakes' teachers have handled virtual classes has also led to challenges for her. "It's very hard to get my teachers to actually teach. They seem to think that because we're not actually in the classroom with them, they don't have to teach us anymore. I can't get them to respond to an email or actually explain things in class," Oakes says. The challenges of virtual school for Oakes are not a recent issue, as schools in her district have been online since the spring. Asheville City Schools hasn't had in-person learning since March 13, when NC public schools were closed at the start of the pandemic.

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