South Brunswick Charter School

As Brunswick County Schools weighs how it will reopen its buildings come September, two local schools outside the district are ready to resume in-person classes fully this August while keeping in line with the governor’s orders.

Southport Christian School, which closed in March due to COVID-19, is reopening August 25 with smaller class sizes.

The school dropped its capacities from 16 students per class to 10-12, depending on the students’ ages and sizes of the classrooms.

Principal Lisa Kjome said the school is looking to the governor for guidance on gatherings, and has planned for what is currently allowed in Phase 2 in case the state hasn’t moved into the next phase by the time school starts.

“We’re trying to really follow what he’s requiring in his phases for groups inside and out,” Kjome said.

Classes will stay largely separate to limit interaction. They’ll eat in their classrooms and go to recess with one other class at most. There won’t be assemblies or chapel.

The school has also made several investments to prepare for the year.

It bought Chromebooks for the students to prevent the sharing of equipment. New plexiglass dividers are set up at tables to separate the kids and sanitizers are located at every exit. Most of the classrooms already have sinks for hand washing, Kjome added.

Cleaning protocols are revamped and include new electrostatic fogging equipment that will sanitize the building throughout the day.

Teachers will wear masks and face shields, although the school does not intend on enforcing face coverings for kids.

The school also does not plan on blending virtual learning, but Kjome said teachers will set up Google Classroom in case any student needs to isolate at home.

“If that happens, they can easily move to remote learning for that quarantine time so we don’t miss a beat as far as with our academics and instruction,” Kjome said.

The principal has noticed an increased interest in enrollment at Southport Christian since state officials began discussing plans for public schools. Only a few spots remain open in its classes and the waitlists are growing.

The Roger Bacon Academy also noticed an increasing interest in its charter schools, which spokesperson Winston Orzechowski attributes to it currently offering two options.

The four charters, which include South Brunswick Charter School in Bolivia and Charter Day School in Leland, are allowing parents to choose either five days a week of on-campus learning or five days a week of online instruction via Zoom and Google Classroom.

All kindergartners must attend on-campus. First and second graders will have different teachers depending on if they’re attending online or on-campus schooling. Grades 3-8 will be taught concurrently whether they’re virtual or in-person.

Of the 2,400 total students at the four charter schools, roughly 750 are opting for the online option. That’s about 70% of students on campus and 30% of students virtual for each school, Orzechowski explained.

School will resume August 6.

In-person classes are limited to 50% capacity requirements to make room for six-feet distancing between desks, which will allow for students to take off their masks while seated. The charters are also adding “sanitation breaks” to their scheduling and shortening school days by 30 minutes to allow time for cleaning and alleviate dismissal traffic.

The Roger Bacon Academy is also following the requirements in the “StrongSchools NC Public Health Toolkit,” the guidance document from the state for K-12 schools.