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IMPORTANT Updates on the 2020/2021 School Year

Hello Seahawk Families,


Yesterday, Governor Cooper announced all school districts in North Carolina will operate under the Plan B option (Moderately Social Distancing) for the 2020-2021 school year. We recognize that families are facing difficult decisions about their fall school options, and we want to provide as much clarity as we can to help you make the decision that will work best for your family.


We currently have 150 families already signed up for Ignite! Online Academy. With the commitment of so many Southwest families, we are excited to share that they will be able to utilize many of our teachers to directly support online learning for our students … even for our Dual Language classes. In both options, DPS will be distributing devices for students as well as working with families who need internet access to secure hotspots. Most importantly, we want you to know that we support whatever you choose because we know you are making decisions in the best interest of your family. We are here for you whether you choose to work from afar with Ignite! Online Academy or in person.


OPTION 1: Ignite! Online Academy

Ignite! Online Academy is DPS’s online option for any family who chooses to enroll their student(s) in online learning and still remain connected to Southwest Elementary and DPS.  Students currently enrolled in Durham Public Schools may enroll for next semester through Wednesday, July 22nd. To register, go to . For Spanish, go to


Ignite! Online Academy offers the following for Southwest families:

  • A commitment to high-quality, engaging instruction for the first semester of the school year
  • “Live” direct instructions from Southwest teachers for at least part of the instruction period (and as much as possible)
  • Continued instruction in Spanish for students in our Dual Language program
  • Scheduled time to work with families who have children with identified needs (i.e, IEP, 504, LEP, AIG) 
  • Food options available for those students who need assistance with meals
  • Priority scheduling to simplify and balance time away from devices/screens with focused, teacher-directed learning
    • Literacy, Math, and Specials for Grades K-2nd
    • Literacy, Math, STEM, and Specials for Grades 3rd-5th
  • Wellness Wednesdays and Flexible Fridays to offer students opportunities to explore interests and extra-curricular content and maintain their connection to Southwest

To assist parents in making a choice for their families, the Ignite Online Academy will host two virtual open house events. One TONIGHT, July 15th at 5:30PM and another on Monday, July 20th at 6:30PM. Register for a link here: or Spanish:



OPTION 2: In-Person Learning

In-Person Learning is the option for families who cannot select Ignite! Online Academy. Although many details still need to be figured out with guidance from the State and Durham County Health Departments, we know that our learning environment will look and feel very different than years past. Changes we know at this time include the following:

  • Students will maintain 6 ft of distance from other students and staff.
  • To accommodate the social distancing rules, our upper grades may need to be moved to another campus location (i.e., middle school), but locations have not yet been determined.
  • Other classes will need to be divided and relocated throughout our building. Only 11-12 students can be in a classroom at a time.
  • Every person entering our building will participate in COVID-19 screening including a temperature check.
  • Each morning, a designated parent or guardian will need to be present/available to immediately support a child who needs to get home or to medical care safely. This will be especially important if you are using bus transportation.
  • Face coverings/masks will be required for all students (and staff) during the day, except while eating.
  • Students will remain in their classroom with other staff pushing into the classroom for lessons.
  • Students will not be allowed to share classroom materials.
  • Breakfast and Lunch will be eaten in the classroom.

Again, we support you and will remain here for you if you select Ignite! Online Academy for your student(s). We know that the safety of your children is of the upmost importance. You will still be a part of our Southwest family. We are working closely with the director, Matthew Hickson, to ensure that our students have everything they need to continue engaging in our programs and maintaining connections with other staff and students. If you have additional questions, feel free to email me at .



Nicholas Rotosky-III

Southwest Elementary School

2320 Cook Road

Durham, NC  27713
919-560-3972 Ext. 72222 /

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