The first day of class for the 2020-21 school year for East Meck was one no one would have ever imagined. As some teens rolled out of bed and logged onto their live classes, others were getting ready for their work day and never even made it to class.
This past July, Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina schools could return to school in the fall under plan B, requiring both in-person and remote learning. Cooper also allowed NC districts to opt out of plan B and teach under Plan C, requiring full remote learning, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools decided to do.
Plan C requires students to log onto live-instruction classes for 45 minutes, and complete 30 minutes of asynchronous learning per class period. While it is expected for students to attend their regularly scheduled classes, working students are facing the difficulty of balancing their work hours and academic responsibilities.
Senior Kadyn Pleasants has been working at Drybar for nine months but it wasn’t until this school year that she began working during school hours.
“The most difficult thing for me has been trying to find the right time to get work done. While everyone is in 3rd and 4th block, I’m at work so it’s hard for me to balance,” Pleasants said.
While teachers have tried to accommodate the needs of their students, a lack of structure in day to day life can often lead to a lack of focus on assignments or inclusively retaining adequate information.
“I do think schools should notice people like me more often. We should have the option for a work release or if we do have a job at least be able to not have a 4th block,” Pleasants said. “My coworker isn’t able to come in for the entire shift because her school didn’t allow her to have early release.”
Being only two weeks into the academic year, Pleasants has been able to balance her work so far. However, for others across CMS it is hard to tell how, or even if, they will be able to balance out an unprecedented school year and long work hours.
“Fortunately, I do not have to work to provide for my family, but I do know people do so I think it should become more noticed for sure,” Pleasants said.