A power struggle over reopening schools in North Carolina has hit a fever pitch. on Thursday. As the state legislature plans another veto override vote to mandate the state’s K-12 public school districts to reopen, others are pointing fingers for playing politics.
Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration on Wednesday released new recommendations to reopen schools and Democrats have balked at the idea of a mandate.
“We recognize that almost 90 percent of school districts offer or plan to offer in-person learning in the next few weeks. However, we urge the Board of Education to ensure an option is available in all school districts. We believe we can do so given the significant progress we have made against the COVID-19 virus by following the Center for Disease Control guidelines and the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit (K-12),” Senate Democrats wrote.
The Republican-led legislature has pushed for a return to full-time in-person instruction with the support of scientific evidence. However, both parties agreed that there should still be a remote instruction option for students.
“It is time for us as adults to stop playing politics with the lives of our children,” said Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. “We can clearly see that they are hurting. It is time for us to stop this. It is time for us to stop worrying about our political future.”
The Republican lieutenant governor’s comments appeared to be a jab at Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who vetoed Senate Bill 37, which would have required all school districts to provide in-person learning options.
Cooper said he agrees that students should be in the classroom, but the Bill didn’t have requirements to comply with health guidelines and didn’t allow for another shutdown, if COVID-19 worsened.
“We also recognize there are still potential challenges. There are reports of new strains of the virus that could set back even the best preparations. Even considering such possible challenges and others, we believe offering in-person learning can still work, if done properly,” Senate Democrats continued in their statement.
The Governor’s political play has hurt students who’ve fallen behind and have become depressed during the pandemic. This doesn’t prioritize their needs or the needs of school teachers. Cooper is only concerned with who’s signing the check to keep students and teachers away from classrooms.
State Board of Education chairman Eric Davis said Wednesday that “by the end of this month, we expect all of the public school units in North Carolina are, or will be, returning students to in-person instruction to finish this school year.”
Listen to Pat’s thoughts on reopening North Carolina schools below.