Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools to begin virtual learning for K-12 students

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools have responded to the executive order issued on March 14 which closed all public school systems in North Carolina for at least two weeks.

Tammy Sawyer, community schools director for ECPPS, said the school staff had been preparing for closures two week prior to the announcement. “Our internal crisis response team had meetings daily for the past two weeks to make sure we had things in place,” she said on March 17.

Due to the preparedness of ECPPS, remote learning will begin on March 18. Faculty and staff had in-school training sessions on March 16 and 17, and all materials and resources were distributed to students and parents on the 17.

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“Our district is poised and ready to move to remote learning tomorrow,” shared Dr. Catherine Edmonds, ECPPS superintendent, on March 17. “We are flipping our entire district to educate our students as well as continue operations remotely.”

For preschoolers, instruction will be given via packet handouts from teachers, which were distributed to parents. Online resources will be posted to the school website, www.ecpps.k12.nc.us, for parents as well.

Parents of students in grades kindergarten through second will receive information in the form of packets and online resources via the school website. Instruction will be provided by the school to parents to assist children with distance learning.

Third through twelfth grade students were issued Chromebooks for virtual instruction on March 17, unless parents had indicated that their child was not in need of a device from the school. Those that do not have access to the internet were given instructional packets.

To assist students and families during this time, ECPPS has decided to allow parents to drive to their local campus and use the public wi-fi, which will be accessible to a certain distance. Therefore, students who do not have access to the internet at home could still use the virtual learning program.

“We’re trying to be very responsive to parents in this situation” Sawyer said. The transition to distance learning, which ECPPS is calling “Classroom to the Cloud,” is meant to be easy and effortless, according to Sawyer.

ECPPS started providing meals to families on March 16. Children ages 1 through 18, those enrolled in K-12 ECPPS, or exceptional children students up to age 22 are eligible for meals. The following locations will serve breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and lunch from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, pick-up only: J.C. Sawyer Elementary School, Pasquotank Elementary School and Sheep-Harney Elementary School.

In addition, buses will be taking the same meals to remote sites in order to provide more county coverage. These sites include Central, Northside, P.W. Moore, Weeksville and River Road campuses. ECPPS has partnered with Food Bank of the Albemarle to make these meals possible.

For parents who are unable to pickup meals for their children every day, ECPPS is offering weekly meal kits. These kits consist of meals that do not need to be refrigerated and include enough food for seven days. They will be packed according to family size.

“We want to make sure we are meeting needs of families and the community,” Sawyer shared. She said the school calendar has been revised to reflect the working days for staff from March 16 and 17, which can be found on the ECPPS website.

“I am proud of the ECPPS staff, students and families for embracing the situation we are in at this time with positivity . . . supporting one another and working together,” Edmonds said.

For the most updated information, Sawyer suggested parents keep up with the website but also check the ECPPS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ecpps.

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