Warren County educators, parents and students would probably agree that spring semester 2020 has been anything but typical due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to adjust to school buildings closed and remote learning becoming part of daily life.

COVID-19 also has impacted how students will be graded for this semester’s work and how school systems plan their calendars for the 2020-21 academic year. The N.C. State Board of Education and the General Assembly have adopted measures to address these matters.

Warren County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Young discussed the changes, especially those related to the 2020-21 school calendar, during the board of education’s May 12 meeting.


Student grades

According to the N.C. State Board of Education/Department of Public Instruction website, the grading process will involve the following:


Graduating seniors

In order to graduate, seniors must meet the minimum state requirement of 22 credits. 

Fall classes: Fall course grades will be counted in student grade-point averages. For year-round classes, the fall term grade will be counted in the GPA.

Spring classes: Student scores will be based upon learning as of March 13, a designation of pass (PC19) or withdrawal (WC19), which refers to a lack of evidence that the student has mastered course standards. 

Seniors who were failing a course as of March 13 have several options in order to pass: participate in their school’s remote learning opportunities, enroll in NC Virtual Public School as needed, participate in a credit recovery program or pass a final locally-developed assessment based upon topics covered through March 13.


Other students 

Principals and staff at individual schools will determine if students will be promoted or retained. 


Elementary school students 

The following covers students in kindergarten through grade five.

Elementary school students will not receive a final grade. Instead, teachers will provide students and their parents with written feedback based on learning for the school year. Individual school districts will develop the format for the feedback.

Academic and social/emotional feedback will help students prepare for the next school year.


Middle grades

The following applies to students in grade six through eight.

Students will receive a final grade of pass (PC19) or withdraw (WC19), which means a lack of evidence that the student has mastered course standards. However, WC19 does not mean that a student has failed the course or will be retained.

Teachers will provide year-end written feedback based on learning during the school year in a format to be determined by district leaders.

Academic and social/emotional feedback will help students prepare for the new school year.

If middle school students are taking high school courses, they will receive course credit, but their grade will not be counted in their GPA.


High school students 

The following applies to students in grades nine through 11.

Students may choose how their final grade on each course will appear on their transcript.


Option 1

  • Report the numeric grade, their highest grade representing either their learning as of March 13 or as improved through remote learning.
  • Receive course credit.
  • The numeric grade and quality points for each course will be used to calculate GPA.


Option 2

  • Report a PC19 or WC19.
  • Students opting to receive a PC19 will receive credit for the course. However, neither designation will affect their GPA.
  • Students choosing the WC19 option will not receive course credit, but would be able to receive credit through credit recovery or repeating the course.

Young told the board that the school system has provided grading information to parents.


2020-21 school calendar

According to legislation adopted by the N.C. General Assembly, the following applies only to the 2020-21 academic year.

  • School systems must develop a calendar with 190 instructional days which includes 5 remote instruction days. Normally, the school year in North Carolina consists of 185 days.
  • The school year will begin on Aug. 17, 2020,  and will end no later than June 11, 2021.
  • No remote instruction days may be scheduled before Aug. 24, 2020.

Young said that the school system had developed a proposed calendar for 2020-21 prior to the legislation and will present the board with a revised calendar during an upcoming meeting.