Robeson County parents, officials face challenges on the first day of school

Pee Dee

“With the parents, I don’t think we actually got prepared, and you know, to be honest, I don’t even think some of the teachers are prepared."

ROBESON COUNTY, NC (WBTW) — The first day of virtual school for Public Schools of Robeson County and Florence County School District Four was met with some connectivity issues Monday morning.

Many North Carolina towns saw their remote learning programs crash Monday morning, but Robeson County officials tell News13 the issue got resolved around noon.

One Robeson County mother News13 spoke with says the next nine weeks are going to be tough.

“It’s going to be hard for everybody,” said mom of four Sherron Belton.

Monday was the first of nearly 70 days Robeson County and Florence County School District Four students went online for school.

“We want our teachers to connect to our students and families. We want everyone, you know, to get acclimated to remote learning and how that’s going to look for the next nine weeks,” said Public Schools of Robeson County Public Information Officer Dr. Gordon Burnette, III.

Belton tells News13 three out of four of her kids started virtual school with Robeson County’s school district Monday and received their packets that includes a schedule for the next nine weeks.

“With the parents, I don’t think we actually got prepared, and you know, to be honest, I don’t even think some of the teachers are prepared,” she said.

Her three kids work off of three devices on their WiFi, but says it’s going to be difficult if you don’t have internet.

“I know it’s going to be tough, because you can run out on a daily basis, especially if you’ve got two or more devices,” said Belton.

Public Schools of Robeson County officials agree that connectivity is a major issue.

“We realize that we have some equity issues across our district as far as access to technology, so we’ve stepped up,” said Dr. Burnette, III.

They’ve added over 50 buses that double as WiFi locations, especially in rural areas and are working with internet providers.

“If the parents and teachers can work together on this, I think it will work,” said Belton.

Dr. Burnette tells News13 they’re not sure if they’ll be back in-person after the nine weeks but if coronavirus cases increase they may choose a hybrid method.

News13 has reached out to Florence County School District Four officials and have not heard back for an interview.

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