Gov. Roy Cooper and leaders from the General Assembly announced a bill Wednesday that will reopen public schools across North Carolina for in-person learning.
Under the plan, all elementary schools must operate under Plan A, which is full in-person learning. The individual districts will have the option for Plan A, or Plan B, a hybrid learning model for middle and high school students.
On March 4, the State Board of Education ruled that all districts must offer in-person learning with COVID-19 safety guidelines, including mandatory face masks and social distancing for students from sixth grade through high school.
Following public disagreements with Republicans on how schools should reopen, Cooper said, “Coming together after acrimony isn’t easy, but it’s the right thing to do for North Carolina.”
“The good news is I think we all want the same thing. To open our schools for in-person instruction for all students and to do it safely with important emergency protections. I believe, and our public health leaders agree, that we can do that safely with precautions like face masks and other safe guards found in the public schools tool kit.”
Part of the compromise with Republicans in the State’s assembly was giving the governor the authority to order a closure, restriction or reduction of operations within schools on a district-by-district basis, according to Senate Leader Phil Berger.
Multiple districts across the state have announced reopening plans, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, which resumed in-person learning last month. The CMS board voted Tuesday night to send elementary students to school for four days of in-person learning each week.
Cooper said the bill would take effect 21 days after being signed, putting children back in school the first week of April.