Stanly County moves to remote learning for 2 weeks following teacher’s death

STANLY COUNTY, N.C. — Parents in Stanly County are preparing for a big adjustment after the school board voted every school will be learning virtually for two weeks starting on Wednesday.

This comes after the Stanly County Board of Education held an emergency meeting Saturday morning.

Students will start learning virtually on October 15 and will return to in-person learning on Nov. 2. Teachers will return on Oct. 30.

This week, Norwood Elementary third grade teacher Julie Davis died from COVID-19 and the county said there is increased community spread of the virus.

Parent Allysa Harsh’s daughter is in third grade at Norwood Elementary and has been in quarantine since Davis died.

Harsh told Channel 9 she noticed issues with how the district handled the virus because her two other children were still allowed to go to school.

“Even though they live in the same house and their sister was exposed, somehow that doesn’t make them exposed,” Harsh said.

Stanly County Health Director David Jenkins told the school board they have received reports of inconsistent screening of people entering the school and employees working with symptoms.

The North Carolina Department of Labor told the district Davis' death was not workplace-related, but when pressed, the health department said it is difficult to pinpoint where she would have gotten the virus.

In an automated message, the district said meals will not be provided and asked everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of the virus.

Harsh said she understands this is new to everybody and she is glad the district is taking precautions, but virtual learning is tough for a lot of families in the district.

“I think it’s going to be hard,” Harsh said. “A lot of people are working class and they don’t have the option to not work. I’m an essential worker. I don’t have a choice but to work.”

Stanly is the first local district to close all schools because of COVID-19. Crest High School in Cleveland County closed earlier this month and will reopen next Thursday.

Meanwhile, preschoolers in Mecklenburg County will go back to classrooms on Monday.

Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.