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Mother and daughter studying online at home.

Source: VioletaStoimenova / Getty

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper strongly urged schools to provide an in-person learning option for all students on Tuesday.

He made the announcement at a press briefing saying, “It’s important schools follow the safety protocols laid out by North Carolina health officials. That guidance reinforces in-person learning while maintaining strong public health measures.”

He went on to say, “Teachers who are at risk should be providing that remote instruction. But, students who are ready to return to the classrooms should have that chance.”

The governor’s new guidance on reopening schools comes days after doctors from the CDC published a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association about safely having students return to the classroom during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One person who strongly disagrees with Cooper’s assessment of the state’s current education model is Steve Oreskovic. The 25-year veteran middle school teacher, co-chair of the CMS Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council and member of the CMS Metrics Committee joined WBT’s Bo Thompson Morning Show to give his perspective on state officials pushing to reopen schools for in-person instruction.

Oreskovic wonders why Cooper wants teachers to return without taking the proper precaution beforehand.

“If you’re not going to vaccinate us first, why are you going to put us back in the classroom?” Oreskovic said.

“We are doing virtual learning the best we can and a lot of kids are thriving in it. We’re in a pandemic. So, if you’re just going to skip ahead to put us back in the classroom, you really need to step back and do some of the things that are going to keep everyone safe.”

Cooper wasn’t the only official to address the media on Tuesday. North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen referenced studies that show “no cases of students transmitting the virus to educators” in school settings. She also said, “Emerging science backs up early science that shows schools are not major spreaders of COVID.”

Oreskovic responded to that statement by Dr. Cohen with a common sense theory possibly being overlooked.

“Well, if we’re talking about community spread, until you put the schools back into the community, you’re not going to see community spread there.” said Oreskovic. “I think that’s kind of common sense. But once the schools start getting the kids back in there, you’re going to. I don’t see how you can’t.”

He went on to say, “They’re looking for a way to just push us back into school, rather than really looking at the science.”

Oreskovic also cited the need to address the problems with bringing the students back to the classroom, such as universal COVID-19 testing efforts, reducing levels of transmission for everyone and better ventilation throughout schools.

He hopes the CMS school board makes the right decision and “looks at the district as a whole.” The next meeting for the school board is scheduled on Feb. 9.

Listen to the entire interview with Steve Oreskovic on The Bo Thompson Morning Show below.